Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/15/2003 03:12 PM House MLV

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND                                                                           
                       VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                                      
                         April 15, 2003                                                                                         
                           3:12 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Hugh Fate                                                                                                        
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom                                                                                                  
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 245                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to certain suits  and claims by members  of the                                                               
military  services   or  regarding  acts  or   omissions  of  the                                                               
organized militia;  relating to liability arising  out of certain                                                               
search  and rescue,  civil defense,  homeland security,  and fire                                                               
management  and firefighting  activities;  and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 245(MLV) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 10                                                                                                   
Requesting  the  United States  Congress  to  support the  speedy                                                               
deployment of a national missile defense system.                                                                                
     - MOVED HJR 10 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 228                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to state  employees who  are called  to active                                                               
duty as reserve  or auxiliary members of the armed  forces of the                                                               
United States; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 14                                                                                                   
Relating  to urging  that the  2006 National  Veterans Wheelchair                                                               
Games be held in Anchorage, Alaska.                                                                                             
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HB 245                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:SUITS & CLAIMS: MILITARY/FIRE/DEFENSE                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                      
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
04/04/03     0777       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
04/04/03     0777       (H)        MLV, JUD, FIN                                                                                
04/04/03     0778       (H)        FN1: ZERO(LAW)                                                                               
04/04/03     0778       (H)        FN2: ZERO(DNR)                                                                               
04/04/03     0778       (H)        FN3: INDETERMINATE(ADM)                                                                      
04/04/03     0778       (H)        GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                
04/04/03     0778       (H)        REFERRED TO MLV                                                                              
04/08/03     0859       (H)        FN3: INDETERMINATE(ADM)                                                                      
04/11/03                (H)        JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                   
04/11/03                (H)        <Bill Hearing Postponed>                                                                     
04/15/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
BILL: HJR 10                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM                                                                                     
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)MCGUIRE                                                                                            
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/05/03     0130       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/05/03     0130       (H)        MLV                                                                                          
02/05/03     0130       (H)        REFERRED TO MLV                                                                              
02/07/03     0152       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): LYNN                                                                           
04/15/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
BILL: HB 228                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:STATE EMPLOYEES CALLED TO MILITARY DUTY                                                                             
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)KERTTULA                                                                                           
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/31/03     0712       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
03/31/03     0712       (H)        MLV, STA, FIN                                                                                
03/31/03     0712       (H)        REFERRED TO MLV                                                                              
04/07/03     0831       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): LYNN                                                                           
04/15/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
GAIL VOIGTLANDER, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                    
Special Litigation Section                                                                                                      
Civil Division (Anchorage)                                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented  HB 245,  which was  sponsored by                                                               
the House  Rules Standing Committee  by request of  the governor;                                                               
answered questions on Version H.                                                                                                
BRAD THOMPSON, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Risk Management                                                                                                     
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HB 245, Version H.                                                                   
ROBERT DOEHL, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                        
Special Litigation Section                                                                                                      
Civil Division (Anchorage)                                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Explained reasons  for how Sections  3-6 of                                                               
HB 245, Version H, are constructed.                                                                                             
DEAN BROWN, Deputy Director                                                                                                     
Division of Forestry                                                                                                            
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 245.                                                                            
HEATH HILYARD, Staff                                                                                                            
to Representative Lesil McGuire                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented   HJR  10   on   behalf   of                                                               
Representative McGuire, sponsor.                                                                                                
STACEY FRITZ                                                                                                                    
No Nukes North                                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Expressed  concerns about  HJR 10  and that                                                               
the missile defense system does  not and cannot work, noting that                                                               
she'd recently  completed her master's  thesis on the  subject of                                                               
missile defense.                                                                                                                
RYAN TINSLEY, Member                                                                                                            
Fairbanks Coalition for Peace and Justice                                                                                       
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  hearing on HJR  10, asked  what the                                                               
cost  will be  for this  still-unworkable missile  defense system                                                               
and how  it will  affect social  services including  health care,                                                               
education, and social security;  suggested money spent on foreign                                                               
aid might alleviate some of the need for this system.                                                                           
STEVE CLEARY, Organizer                                                                                                         
Citizens Opposed to Defense Experimentation (CODE);                                                                             
Executive Director                                                                                                              
Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AkPIRG)                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   During hearing on HJR  10, related concerns                                                               
about dangers to Alaska and  a false sense of security; suggested                                                               
money  would  be  better  spent   helping  veterans  and  meeting                                                               
homeland security needs.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE BETH KERTTULA                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor of HB 228.                                                                            
TRACY WENDT, Intern                                                                                                             
for Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented   HB  228   on   behalf   of                                                               
Representative Kerttula, sponsor; answered questions.                                                                           
CHRIS HONSE, Lieutenant Commander, Director                                                                                     
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for District 17                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 228 and answered questions.                                                                
JULIE BENSON                                                                                                                    
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of HB 228  as the wife                                                               
of a man who is a state trooper  and a member of the Air National                                                               
Guard; called  it essential legislation  for state  employees who                                                               
make the difficult choice to serve both their state and country.                                                                
DEBRA GERRISH                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  on HB  228 as  the  wife of  an                                                               
officer in the  Army National Guard who has served  for 22 years;                                                               
emphasized the need for health benefits.                                                                                        
BUTCH STEIN                                                                                                                     
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on  HB 228, emphasizing how USERRA                                                               
applies to  military personnel and  that people in the  Guard and                                                               
reserves should  not be discriminated  against either  when going                                                               
into active duty or returning from that service.                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 03-6, SIDE A                                                                                                             
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR BOB  LYNN called  the House  Special Committee  on Military                                                             
and   Veterans'   Affairs  meeting   to   order   at  3:12   p.m.                                                               
Representatives Lynn, Masek, Fate,  and Gruenberg were present at                                                               
the call to order.   Representatives Weyhrauch and Cissna arrived                                                               
as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                 
HB 245-SUITS & CLAIMS: MILITARY/FIRE/DEFENSE                                                                                  
Number 0111                                                                                                                     
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 245, "An Act  relating to certain suits and claims                                                               
by  members  of  the  military  services  or  regarding  acts  or                                                               
omissions  of  the  organized   militia;  relating  to  liability                                                               
arising  out  of  certain  search   and  rescue,  civil  defense,                                                               
homeland   security,  and   fire   management  and   firefighting                                                               
activities; and  providing for an  effective date."  [HB  245 was                                                               
sponsored by  the House  Rules Standing  Committee by  request of                                                               
the governor.]                                                                                                                  
Number 0134                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK  moved  to  adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS), Version 23-GH1025\D, as a work draft.                                                                          
CHAIR  LYNN   announced  that  Version  D   was  adopted  without                                                               
Number 0210                                                                                                                     
GAIL VOIGTLANDER, Assistant  Attorney General, Special Litigation                                                               
Section,   Civil  Division   (Anchorage),   Department  of   Law,                                                               
presented  HB  245 to  the  committee.    She explained  that  it                                                               
discusses four areas of immunity for  the state.  The first is to                                                               
immunize  search and  rescue (SAR)  activities  conducted by  the                                                               
Alaska State Troopers, which conducts  approximately 400 of those                                                               
a year.   This bill immunizes the Alaska State  Troopers for both                                                               
the decision about when or if  to commence a SAR activity and how                                                               
the  activity  is   conducted.    Ms.  Voigtlander   said  it  is                                                               
consistent  with   Alaska  case  law  that   immunizes  negligent                                                               
investigation  by  the  Alaska State  Troopers  or  other  police                                                               
Number 0350                                                                                                                     
MS.  VOIGTLANDER told  members the  second area  relates to  tort                                                               
claims  by  members  of  the  Alaska  National  Guard  and  other                                                               
military members of  the state militia.  The bill  adopts what is                                                               
known as the Feres doctrine.   Taken from the name of a plaintiff                                                             
in  a  [U.S. Supreme  Court  case]  and  adopted by  the  federal                                                               
government and many states, the  Feres doctrine says there cannot                                                             
be  intramilitary  torts between  members  of  the military;  for                                                               
example, a private cannot sue his  sergeant in tort for an injury                                                               
sustained that  is incident to  military service.  Thus  the bill                                                               
puts  into law  that  the  Feres doctrine  is  applicable to  bar                                                             
claims against the state.                                                                                                       
MS. VOIGTLANDER asserted that those  military members aren't left                                                               
without remedies.   A  member on active  state duty  and carrying                                                               
active  state orders  who is  injured  has workers'  compensation                                                               
under the state.   A member serving under federal  orders - which                                                               
is the  majority of the time  - who is injured  pursuant to those                                                               
orders has federal  remedies that are the  equivalent of workers'                                                               
compensation as well.                                                                                                           
Number 0482                                                                                                                     
MS. VOIGTLANDER went  on to say that this  bill overrides Himsel,                                                             
a lawsuit  filed as a  result of an  air crash outside  of Juneau                                                               
some years ago;  the parties included families  of National Guard                                                               
members.  She explained:                                                                                                        
     In that case, we won at  the trial court level.  It was                                                                    
     reversed  on appeal,  and our  supreme court  said that                                                                    
     they  would not  apply the  Feres doctrine;  they would                                                                  
     look to  see whether ...  what the action  involved was                                                                    
     uniquely  military  and  say,   if  it's  not  uniquely                                                                    
     military, they will  allow the claim.   Under the Feres                                                                  
     doctrine, the test is "incident to military service."                                                                      
     That opinion  was a 3-2  opinion. ... The  two justices                                                                    
     who dissented  pointed out that  the Feres  doctrine is                                                                  
     founded  on  sound public  policy,  which  is that  the                                                                    
     courts  should   not  involve  themselves   in  second-                                                                    
     guessing military decisions, and  also that it was poor                                                                    
     for military morale to  allow intramilitary tort suits.                                                                    
     The dissent also  went on to explain that  that test of                                                                    
     discarding the  "incident to military service"  test in                                                                    
     favor  of  what  our  supreme  court  was  saying,  ...                                                                    
     whether it was uniquely military,  was going to be very                                                                    
     difficult to interpret; it was  not a bright line.  And                                                                    
     so this section of the  bill would deal with that issue                                                                    
     and bring  Alaska back to  the Feres  doctrine concept,                                                                  
     which is,  if you are  injured, you have  your workers'                                                                    
     [compensation] remedy.                                                                                                     
MS.  VOIGTLANDER,  noting  that   Himsel  settled  after  it  was                                                             
remanded  for trial,  commented,  "It will  be  appearing in  the                                                               
capital budget later this session,  and the state's share of that                                                               
judgment is $2.75 million."                                                                                                     
Number 0678                                                                                                                     
MS.  VOIGTLANDER reported  that  the third  portion  of the  bill                                                               
relates  to  suits and  claims  arising  from civil  defense  and                                                               
homeland  security.   Noting  that  currently  Title 26  provides                                                               
immunity for civil  defense, she offered her  reading that "civil                                                               
defense" appears to  have become a somewhat archaic  term.  Since                                                               
[the terrorist  attacks of September  11, 2001] Alaska  and other                                                               
states  have moved  into the  "homeland  defense" and  "emergency                                                               
management"  areas,   for  which   the  bill   therefore  extends                                                               
immunity.   She  told  members that  the  original civil  defense                                                               
statute has an exception to  provide for certain claims, and said                                                               
an exception has been carried over in this portion of the bill.                                                                 
Number 0775                                                                                                                     
MS.  VOIGTLANDER  turned  attention  to the  state's  duties  and                                                               
obligations.  She  said she'd been told that  after September 11,                                                               
2001, because  of the related  activities that must  be conducted                                                               
in  addition  to  emergency management,  the  federal  government                                                               
cannot  do everything  and thus  states are  picking up  more [of                                                               
these  responsibilities].    She  went  on  to  say  the  federal                                                               
government was  immune when it  did activities; this is  to carry                                                               
that [policy] over now that the  state is picking up what used to                                                               
be  considered  civil defense  but  now  has been  expanded  into                                                               
homeland defense.                                                                                                               
Number 0826                                                                                                                     
MS. VOIGTLANDER told  members the last portion of  the bill deals                                                               
with  suits   arising  from  fire  management   and  firefighting                                                               
activities;  it  would  immunize  "the state  and  employees  and                                                               
others who work on these  firefighting activities" from lawsuits.                                                               
She referred to Angnabooguk and  a companion case, Bartek, noting                                                           
that  the Alaska  Supreme Court  ruled  in 2001  that while  many                                                               
activities  the state  conducts  in firefighting  may be  "immune                                                               
decisions," there  may be decisions  that aren't immune  and thus                                                               
lawsuits can be filed.                                                                                                          
MS. VOIGTLANDER  said this [portion  of the bill] is  to immunize                                                               
that activity "to help conserve  the resources of firefighting so                                                               
the firefighters  are on the  line fighting fires and  doing fire                                                               
management and  forest protection,  rather than being  pulled off                                                               
into civil litigation,  which is very time-consuming  for them as                                                               
well."   Noting  that  AS 09.65.070  has  immunity for  municipal                                                               
firefighters, she said this would  be consistent with "looking at                                                               
the fact  that you need to  have these people available  to fight                                                               
fire, rather than  defending civil lawsuits."   She added, "Also,                                                               
it is to  be more consistent with 9th Circuit  [Court of Appeals]                                                               
law  and  general  federal   law,  which  immunizes  firefighting                                                               
activities  as  well.   Several  other  states as  well  immunize                                                               
firefighting activities."                                                                                                       
Number 0970                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK  referred to page  6, lines 8-13,  and asked                                                               
how the bill  would impact the current lawsuit  over the Miller's                                                               
Reach fire of 1996.                                                                                                             
MS.   VOIGTLANDER  specified   that  this   bill  wouldn't   have                                                               
retroactive effect  and wouldn't apply  to the pending case.   It                                                               
would only have  prospective effect for future  claims that might                                                               
occur after the effective date of the legislation.                                                                              
Number 1052                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE referred  to  proposed language  on page  3,                                                               
lines 22-25, which read:                                                                                                        
     A  person   is  not  entitled  to   death  benefits  as                                                                
     specified  in   AS  23.30.215  for  a   member  of  the                                                                
     organized militia who dies as  a result of an injury or                                                                
     disability suffered  in the  line of  duty but  who had                                                                
     not  been  ordered into  active  state  service by  the                                                                
     governor under AS 26.05.070.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  posed  a scenario  in  which  a  lieutenant                                                               
orders a  private to do  something that results in  severe injury                                                               
or death  for the private.   That person  would be acting  in the                                                               
line of  duty?   If the  governor hadn't  ordered that  unit into                                                               
state  service,  he  asked,  would   the  state  be  waived  from                                                               
liability for the  person who died as a result  of a direct order                                                               
in the line of duty.                                                                                                            
Number 1162                                                                                                                     
MS. VOIGTLANDER  said she believed  the provision referred  to is                                                               
"the homeland security,"  but that she would answer  in regard to                                                               
the  Alaska National  Guard because  she believed  that was  what                                                               
Representative Fate's question addressed.  She said:                                                                            
     People who  are serving  in the  Alaska ...  militia or                                                                    
     the Alaska  National Guard are  going to  be responding                                                                    
     either to a state call-out  and have state orders, or a                                                                    
     federal call-out and  have federal orders.   So if they                                                                    
     are injured  incident to duty  because they're  on that                                                                    
     call-out, then  if it's  a state  order they  will have                                                                    
     state  workers' compensation  remedies; if  ... they're                                                                    
     carrying  federal orders,  they  have federal  workers'                                                                    
     compensation benefits.                                                                                                     
Number 1223                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE pointed  out  that it  just says  "organized                                                               
militia".   He then referred  to page  5 [lines 7-8],  which adds                                                               
the  language "vaccination  and other  actions to  protect public                                                           
health" under "civil  defense".  He posed a situation  in which a                                                           
response  to  a  vaccination  results in  death  because  of  not                                                               
knowing the person's  history to the extent of  knowing there was                                                               
an allergy.   He asked whether liability would be  waived in that                                                               
MS.  VOIGTLANDER  said  that  provision  is  under  the  homeland                                                               
security  provisions,  under which  the  person  wouldn't have  a                                                               
claim  unless  the exception  on  page  4, lines  8-10,  applied.                                                               
However, a  person who was  an employee that was  injured because                                                               
of  the  vaccination,  if  the   vaccination  was  necessary  for                                                               
employment, would have  workers' compensation benefits available;                                                               
what entity  that person  was employed  by would  determine whose                                                               
workers' compensation would kick in.                                                                                            
Number 1443                                                                                                                     
MS.  VOIGTLANDER, in  response to  questions from  Representative                                                               
Weyhrauch,  reiterated  that  under  the  existing  case  law  in                                                               
Himsel,  a  member of  the  military  -  if  that person  is  not                                                             
considered a  state employee  but is a  federal employee  - could                                                               
have a tort claim against the  state.  However, this bill draws a                                                               
bright line by saying that if  the injury is incident to military                                                               
service,  then whoever  is injured  cannot sue  the state  on any                                                               
theory  - either  direct or  vicarious liability  - for  damages.                                                               
People  would  be limited  to  workers'  [compensation] or  other                                                               
benefits,  either  through  the  state  or  through  the  federal                                                               
government, depending on what papers they're carrying.                                                                          
MS. VOIGTLANDER, in further  response to Representative Weyhrauch                                                               
about how  many states have  adopted that bright-line  test, said                                                               
there  are several  states  and that  the Himsel  case  - in  the                                                             
dissent  section written  by Chief  Justice Matthews  and Justice                                                               
Eastaugh  at note  13, page  45, of  the opinion  - cites  to the                                                               
federal  cases  as well  as  state  cases  that adopt  the  Feres                                                             
Number 1593                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH  asked, if  this bill  became law  and a                                                               
military person was  injured through negligence at the  hand of a                                                               
state  official, whether  that person  could recover  under other                                                               
sorts of doctrines or theories [of law].                                                                                        
MS. VOIGTLANDER answered,  "If it's for personal injury  - it's a                                                               
bodily injury or death - the answer would be no.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WEYHRAUCH  asked  whether,  except  for  workers'                                                               
compensation  or other  insurance that  may be  available to  the                                                               
person, that would be the extent of recovery.                                                                                   
MS. VOIGTLANDER  said she believed  so, unless there was  a third                                                               
party involved.                                                                                                                 
Number 1678                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK  asked  about  the title  change  from  the                                                               
original bill  and why  it now  relates to  workers' compensation                                                               
and death benefits for members of the organized militia.                                                                        
MS.  VOIGTLANDER surmised  that  those are  editing changes  from                                                               
legislative legal  counsel, saying she hadn't  spoken with anyone                                                               
about why  that title change occurred.   She went on  to say that                                                               
she'd  gone through  [Version H]  and found  that nothing  in the                                                               
bill  changes  workers'   compensation  benefits  under  existing                                                               
statute; however, there is reference  within the bill to workers'                                                               
compensation "because of the  intramilitary tort discussion we've                                                               
had, saying that you can't sue  in court but you do have workers'                                                               
compensation benefits."   She referred to Sections 12  and 13 and                                                               
noted  that  the legislative  drafters  also  had changed  "civil                                                               
liability" to "civil immunity" in the titles for those sections.                                                                
Number 1903                                                                                                                     
MS.  VOIGTLANDER,   in  response  to   Representative  Gruenberg,                                                               
explained that  Section 2  has the  search-and-rescue provisions,                                                               
Sections 3-6 have  to do with the Feres  doctrine issue, Sections                                                             
7-11  deal with  homeland  defense immunity,  and Sections  12-13                                                               
deal with  firefighting activities.   She said because  these are                                                               
grafted onto  existing statutes,  the bill  required a  number of                                                               
changes, and hence so many sections are implicated.                                                                             
Number 2008                                                                                                                     
MS. VOIGTLANDER,  in response to  a question  from Representative                                                               
Gruenberg,  affirmed  that  Sections  12 and  13  are  the  same.                                                               
However, [Section  12 amends] AS 41.25,  which governs protection                                                               
of  forestland from  fire and  other destructive  agents, whereas                                                               
[Section  13  amends]  AS  41.17,  which  is  the  Alaska  Forest                                                               
Resources and Practices Act.                                                                                                    
Number 2062                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  whether these  people will  have                                                               
any remedy.                                                                                                                     
MS.  VOIGTLANDER  answered that  a  person  killed because  of  a                                                               
wildfire  wouldn't  have a  remedy  against  the state  for  tort                                                               
damages if this passes.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked what remedy they  would have, and                                                               
whether their families would go homeless and hungry.                                                                            
MS. VOIGTLANDER answered, "In terms  of bodily injury, they would                                                               
not  have a  remedy  against the  state."   She  added, "In  many                                                               
immunity provisions,  it does result  in someone being  without a                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked what plan  the state has  to take                                                               
care of these people and their survivors.                                                                                       
MS. VOIGTLANDER said it is more  a policy issue than a legal one.                                                               
As a  matter of  legal interpretation of  statutes, she  said she                                                               
didn't know what other programs  or benefits existed, but offered                                                               
to find  out.  She said  federal programs kick in  when there are                                                               
wildfires; for  example, the Federal Emergency  Management Agency                                                               
(FEMA)  offers  assistance  to  individuals  and  municipalities.                                                               
Noting that normally  it's an issue of property  damage, she said                                                               
that normally  the remedy  is that  people have  a fire-insurance                                                               
policy, but that she didn't know whether it would cover a death.                                                                
Number 2180                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked whether  this bill  immunizes the                                                               
state against  property owners and civilians,  just firefighters,                                                               
or everybody.                                                                                                                   
MS. VOIGTLANDER  answered that it  immunizes the state  from tort                                                               
lawsuits  "from whatever  source, so  it would  be tort  lawsuits                                                               
from someone who  was injured through the fire."   She reiterated                                                               
that  a   firefighter  who  was   injured  would   have  workers'                                                               
compensation remedies.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referred to  Section 2  and search-and-                                                               
rescue  personnel.   He asked  whether this  immunizes them  from                                                               
suits by the victim or personnel or both.                                                                                       
MS. VOIGTLANDER  responded, "This immunizes them  from suits from                                                               
third parties."   She reiterated that state  personnel would have                                                               
workers' compensation remedies.                                                                                                 
Number 2259                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG inquired about  volunteers.  He recalled                                                               
a supreme  court case  that arose  from the  1964 earthquake:   a                                                               
volunteer who  went to Seward  was swept out  to sea, and  it was                                                               
held that the person [didn't  qualify for] workers' compensation.                                                               
Thus  Representative Gruenberg  said  he'd  offered an  amendment                                                               
[during an previous legislative session]  to cover such a person,                                                               
which passed.   He asked whether  this bill would roll  that back                                                               
so  a volunteer  and any  survivors would  [not even  qualify for                                                               
that benefit].                                                                                                                  
MS.  VOIGTLANDER  said  she didn't  know  enough  about  workers'                                                               
compensation to respond, but would  research the issue.  She said                                                               
she  knows there  are  some situations  in  which volunteers  are                                                               
covered by workers' compensation.                                                                                               
Number 2354                                                                                                                     
BRAD THOMPSON, Director, Division  of Risk Management, Department                                                               
of  Administration,  responded  that the  statutory  benefit  for                                                               
workers'  compensation isn't  affected by  this legislation.   He                                                               
added that  the state has  a policy  of extending benefits  - not                                                               
through   statute,  but   through  operating   agreements  -   to                                                               
volunteers that help with SAR activities.  He explained:                                                                        
     We have  a volunteer service agreement;  it's basically                                                                    
     a contract.   It allows  the person that helps  us help                                                                    
     the public a  remedy such that if they  are not already                                                                    
     protected by  either workers' [compensation]  - because                                                                    
     many of  them do have [workers'  compensation coverage]                                                                    
     because they  come to us  in their employment -  or ...                                                                    
     other  remedies from  their employer,  we will  protect                                                                    
     and  pay their  medical bill  and, in  fact, commit  to                                                                    
     give them  the basic minimums of  workers' compensation                                                                    
     benefits.   Now, that's  a contractual  obligation that                                                                    
     we  have  extended  to the  volunteer  in  respect  and                                                                    
     response to  them coming forward  and helping us.   And                                                                    
     that, again, is not affected by this legislation.                                                                          
Number 2414                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  whether each  individual has  to                                                               
sign the contract.                                                                                                              
MR.  THOMPSON answered  that as  they are  signed up  by the  SAR                                                               
coordinator, usually the officer in  command, they are signed on.                                                               
"Often, the  rosters are  completed following  the search,  to be                                                               
quite candid," he added.  "But at  least then we know who's in or                                                               
who's out of this arrangement."                                                                                                 
Number 2425                                                                                                                     
CHAIR LYNN asked, if the practice  is to sign up afterwards, what                                                               
happens if [the person is killed before being able to sign].                                                                    
MR. THOMPSON replied,  "We've not yet faced that, but  we do know                                                               
it is a  commitment from the state to  protect these individuals.                                                               
And we would extend that commitment."                                                                                           
CHAIR LYNN inquired about any statutory commitment to that.                                                                     
MR.  THOMPSON said  it is  policy and  practice.   He added  that                                                               
during  a  declaration  of disaster,  people  who  volunteer  are                                                               
covered   by  the   statutory  definition   of  employment   that                                                               
[Representative  Gruenberg's amendment  to a  bill in  a previous                                                               
legislature] addressed.  He clarified  that he was speaking about                                                               
SAR volunteers and  other individuals who help  the state perform                                                               
its duties.                                                                                                                     
Number 2495                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   referred  to   Representative  Fate's                                                               
earlier  question about  the  militia.   Specifying  that he  was                                                               
looking at  the [new proposed] language  in Sections 5 and  6, he                                                               
offered his  understanding that  it relates  not to  the National                                                               
Guard, but to the organized militia.                                                                                            
MS. VOIGTLANDER replied:                                                                                                        
     These are  amendments to the existing  statutes, AS 26,                                                                    
     and so  Section 4  relates to  the military  service as                                                                    
     well as  the Alaska militia;  Section 5 relates  to the                                                                    
     organized militia,  presumably -  and I don't  have the                                                                    
     statutes in front  of me - because the  section that is                                                                    
     amended is  the section  that relates to  the organized                                                                    
     militia.   The only amendment  to that section  is that                                                                    
     final language at  lines 12-15.  And  Section 6, again,                                                                    
     is the organized militia.   And the only change to that                                                                    
     is lines 22-25.  ... But the change  that we're talking                                                                    
     about is  reflected in  Sections 3-6,  to pick  up both                                                                    
     the Alaska National Guard and  members of the organized                                                                    
Number 2615                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he  was focusing on  the organized                                                               
militia here.   He noted that Section 5 says  that members of the                                                               
organized  militia who  haven't  been ordered  into active  state                                                               
service  aren't  entitled  to  workers'  compensation,  and  that                                                               
Section  6  says  the  same   people  aren't  entitled  to  death                                                               
benefits.   He asked what  remedies they or their  survivors have                                                               
if they're on an emergency  assignment but haven't been called up                                                               
by the governor.                                                                                                                
MS.  VOIGTLANDER  answered,  "My  limited  understanding  of  the                                                               
organized  militia is  that they  would be  called out  through a                                                               
governor's order."                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  suggested   there  must   be  certain                                                               
circumstances  when  that  isn't the  case,  however;  otherwise,                                                               
these amendments wouldn't have been offered.                                                                                    
MS. VOIGTLANDER said what she  doesn't know is whether "they have                                                               
a federal  counterpart."  She  noted that there was  someone from                                                               
"that agency" present who perhaps could answer.                                                                                 
Number 2679                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked about people  who are reacting  to a                                                               
terrorist  activity, for  example, immediately  afterwards.   She                                                               
expressed  amazement  at  how  much  isn't  covered,  and  echoed                                                               
concerns that people won't be taken care of.                                                                                    
MS.  VOIGTLANDER surmised  that  Representative Cissna's  concern                                                               
wasn't so  much about  tortious conduct of  the state,  but about                                                               
whether volunteers who respond to  an emergency are covered.  She                                                               
said  that  is  a  slightly  different  issue  because  it  isn't                                                               
necessarily an  issue of being  harmed through state action.   In                                                               
the 1964  earthquake, for example,  if someone was  injured while                                                               
trying to pull someone from a  crevasse, there wouldn't be a tort                                                               
mechanism against  the state because  the crevasse wasn't  of the                                                               
state's making.   As to whether such a volunteer  would have some                                                               
compensation  for an  injury, she  said that  isn't an  issue she                                                               
could  address.   "This  is  defensive  activity; yours  is  more                                                               
offensively what would the state provide," she suggested.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  clarified,  to  the  contrary,  that  her                                                               
concern  arises from  talking with  numerous  people through  the                                                               
years who  are trying  to get workers'  compensation to  work for                                                               
them,  trying  to  prove  something  [in  order  to  qualify  for                                                               
benefits].  She  said this feels as if more  attorneys are needed                                                               
for  each  person  in  order  to ensure  coverage.    She  sought                                                               
assurance that it isn't so.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG referred to page 5, line 7 [Section 9].                                                                
TAPE 03-6, SIDE B                                                                                                             
Number 2983                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  surmised, if a health  care worker were                                                               
treating  someone and  contracted  the disease,  that this  would                                                               
immunize the  state against [a  lawsuit].  He also  asked whether                                                               
[workers' compensation] would  be the only remedy,  no matter how                                                               
negligent the state had been.                                                                                                   
MS.  VOIGTLANDER referred  to Section  7,  subsection (b),  which                                                               
proposes an  exception "when malice  or reckless  indifference to                                                           
the interests, rights, or safety of  others is shown by clear and                                                           
convincing evidence."                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  observed  that "clear  and  convincing                                                               
evidence" is a  much higher standard than the  normal standard of                                                               
MS. VOIGTLANDER  said it  is intermediate  between "preponderance                                                               
of ... evidence" and "beyond a reasonable doubt."                                                                               
Number 2886                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  Ms. Voigtlander  whether she  is                                                               
aware  of  any  other  area  of tort  law,  aside  from  punitive                                                               
damages, where  such a high  standard of  proof is required.   He                                                               
suggested this would be a bold  new step in Alaska or anywhere in                                                               
the country.                                                                                                                    
MS.  VOIGTLANDER said  she  could only  address  statutes she  is                                                               
familiar with, including the requirement  for the higher standard                                                               
for punitive damages.  She indicated  she believes there may be a                                                               
few  other  provisions in  civil  law  that require  this  higher                                                               
standard, including  some areas  of statutory  and common  law in                                                               
Alaska, but couldn't say what they were.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  pointed  out  that this  is  the  same                                                               
standard used for terminating a  person's parental rights.  "It's                                                               
a very, very high standard," he added.                                                                                          
Number 2801                                                                                                                     
ROBERT  DOEHL,  Assistant  Attorney General,  Special  Litigation                                                               
Section, Civil Division (Anchorage),  Department of Law, referred                                                               
to  Sections 3-6  and suggested  the concern  about the  language                                                               
relates  to the  fact  that  this will  be  pasted into  existing                                                               
statutes,  under  which  the  organized  militia  is  defined  as                                                               
consisting  both the  Alaska  National Guard,  which  has both  a                                                               
federal  and state  role, as  well  as the  Alaska state  defense                                                               
force, which  only has  a state  role.   That is  why, throughout                                                               
Sections  3-6, the  language addresses  what happens  in a  state                                                               
capacity, he  said.   In the  case of  the national  guard, there                                                               
would  be  a  federal  capacity wherein  individuals  would  have                                                               
federal remedies; in the case  of the Alaska state defense force,                                                               
they only would have state remedies.                                                                                            
Number 2717                                                                                                                     
DEAN BROWN, Deputy Director, Division  of Forestry, Department of                                                               
Natural Resources (DNR), noted that  part of the division handles                                                               
wildland firefighting,  a major public service  and public safety                                                               
issue  for the  state.   Mentioning  the  current Miller's  Reach                                                               
litigation [which  was decided by  a jury  in favor of  the state                                                               
shortly after this hearing], she  said most people are aware that                                                               
the state faces  major liability in these areas.   She emphasized                                                               
the  importance she  believes the  bill  has for  the state  with                                                               
regard  to  delivering these  services.    Noting that  the  fire                                                               
season  was  declared  two  weeks  early  this  year,  Ms.  Brown                                                               
reported that  the division  already has  responded to  64 fires.                                                               
Firefighters in  Southcentral Alaska responded to  numerous fires                                                               
from high  winds, and then  still had to  respond in court.   She                                                               
stressed the  desire to focus the  division's emergency personnel                                                               
towards their job of fighting fires.   She echoed comments by Ms.                                                               
Voigtlander  about workers'  compensation availability  and urged                                                               
support for the bill.                                                                                                           
Number 2549                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  spoke about the state's  obligation to its                                                               
public  servants  and suggested  lawsuits  are  filed if  someone                                                               
believes  a wrong  has been  done.   She voiced  concern that  if                                                               
people  risk  their  lives  for others,  the  state  should  feel                                                               
responsible  for  them  and their  families,  and  said  workers'                                                               
compensation, "in my  book, doesn't look really good."   She said                                                               
she wants some  assurances that the state is  providing for these                                                               
people  who work  in danger's  way, and  expressed concern  about                                                               
removing  the tools  that  exist through  the  court system  that                                                               
provide  justice.   "We  as  a state  shouldn't  be  ... a  worse                                                               
employer  than the  private  sector," she  remarked.   She  asked                                                               
Ms. Brown whether there  is adequate coverage or  if some special                                                               
program covers someone who dies in the line of duty.                                                                            
MS. BROWN  replied that she  cannot address the  adequacy because                                                               
it isn't  her area.   She said these firefighters  have extensive                                                               
training and experience; they meet  national standards, and other                                                               
states  and   the  federal  government  use   these  individuals.                                                               
However, in  performing their duties,  they make  decisions based                                                               
on the best information they have  at that time.  This bill would                                                               
provide immunity  if decisions are  made that later are  [seen as                                                               
erroneous].  She asserted that  it gives additional protection to                                                               
individuals performing  this emergency response.   Indicating the                                                               
division responds  to 500-700  fires a year,  she said  every one                                                               
"could be  open to extreme  liability under tort immunity."   She                                                               
added   that  she   doesn't  believe   this  removes   individual                                                               
protection because workers' compensation remains.                                                                               
Number 2297                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked  about the need for  the bill, noting                                                               
that fires aren't new to the  state.  She asked whether there has                                                               
been a lot of tort legislation because of Alaska's fires.                                                                       
MS. BROWN mentioned a Tok fire,  but said the Miller's Reach fire                                                               
was the first major fire  and litigation.  She surmised, however,                                                               
that  Alaska  will  see  what other  Western  states  have  seen,                                                               
increased  litigation  associated  with   wildland  fires.    She                                                               
suggested Alaska is  a number of years behind other  states.  She                                                               
agreed  there aren't  more  fires.   Specifying  that  it is  her                                                               
personal  opinion, she  suggested [introduction  of the  bill] is                                                               
related to how litigious society has become.                                                                                    
Number 2178                                                                                                                     
CHAIR LYNN asked whether anyone else  wished to testify.  He then                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG told  members this is the  first bill he                                                               
has intended to  vote against moving from committee,  and that he                                                               
believes  it sends  the wrong  message  to people  who put  their                                                               
lives on the  line.  "These are the people  this committee should                                                               
be  protecting and  this state  should be  protecting," he  said.                                                               
Representative  Gruenberg went  on to  say he'd  looked carefully                                                               
and couldn't see a single section of the bill he supports.                                                                      
Number 2127                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK  moved  to  report CSHB  245,  Version  23-                                                               
GH1025\D, out  of committee  with individual  recommendations and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes; she requested unanimous consent.                                                                 
Number 2092                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG objected.                                                                                              
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives Masek,  Fate, and                                                               
Lynn voted in favor of  moving CSHB 245, Version 23-GH1025\D, out                                                               
of committee.   Representatives Cissna, Gruenberg,  and Weyhrauch                                                               
voted  against  it.    Therefore,  CSHB  245(MLV)  failed  to  be                                                               
reported from committee by a vote of 3-3.                                                                                       
Number 2037                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH  asked for  reconsideration to  be taken                                                               
up the same day.                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN responded, "Yes, without objection."                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH  explained that he'd voted  "no" because                                                               
of  serious  concerns  about  "the  bright-line  statement  we're                                                               
making  here that  they're absolutely  immune from  liability for                                                               
the kind of  people that we're asking to serve  this country, and                                                               
the  people  who  live  here."    He  said  he  believes  limited                                                               
liability ought to  be available, but isn't sure  there should be                                                               
complete immunity.   He expressed the desire to move  the bill on                                                               
to the House Judiciary Standing  Committee, but said he wants the                                                               
bill amended to reflect his concerns.                                                                                           
Number 1982                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  said he  doesn't like to  hold any  bill up,                                                               
but had questions  and would amend this to at  least clarify what                                                               
"organized militia" is,  since the bill deals  with the organized                                                               
militia in  large part;  he noted  that the  bill uses  the terms                                                               
"military", "civil  defense", and  "homeland security".   He also                                                               
suggested  the need  for clarification  and perhaps  amendment to                                                               
the provisions relating to vaccinations.                                                                                        
Number 1900                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  announced   that   despite  his   own                                                               
reservations,  he'd  offer  amendments  in  the  House  Judiciary                                                               
Standing  Committee   on  behalf   of  members  of   the  current                                                               
Number 1874                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK expressed  faith that  the House  Judiciary                                                               
Standing  Committee and  the House  Finance Committee  would work                                                               
out issues brought up this date.                                                                                                
Number 1815                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK again moved to  report CSHB 245, Version 23-                                                               
GH1025\D, out  of committee  with individual  recommendations and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                  
Number 1806                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  objected.   She  expressed  concern  that                                                               
speeding legislation  along isn't in anyone's  best interest, and                                                               
said this  process is  meant to  be deliberative  and slow.   She                                                               
cautioned  that there  is no  big rush,  and said  this committee                                                               
needs  to  do  as  much  as  possible to  get  a  good  piece  of                                                               
legislation together  that as many  members as possible  can feel                                                               
good about.                                                                                                                     
Number 1712                                                                                                                     
CHAIR LYNN said he shares some  of these concerns, but that it is                                                               
going  to  the  House  Judiciary Standing  Committee,  where  one                                                               
member of  the current committee  sits and will  offer amendments                                                               
on behalf of members.                                                                                                           
A second roll call vote  was taken.  Representatives Fate, Masek,                                                               
Weyhrauch, and  Lynn voted in  favor of moving CSHB  245, Version                                                               
23-GH1025\D,  out  of  committee.    Representatives  Cissna  and                                                               
Gruenberg  voted  against  it.    Therefore,  CSHB  245(MLV)  was                                                               
reported  from  the  House  Special  Committee  on  Military  and                                                               
Veterans' Affairs by a vote of 4-2.                                                                                             
HJR 10-NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM                                                                                        
CHAIR LYNN  announced that  the next order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  JOINT  RESOLUTION NO.  10,  Requesting  the United  States                                                               
Congress to support  the speedy deployment of  a national missile                                                               
defense system.                                                                                                                 
Number 1595                                                                                                                     
HEATH  HILYARD, Staff  to  Representative  Lesil McGuire,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  presented HJR 10 on  behalf of Representative                                                               
McGuire, sponsor.  Turning attention  back to approximately 1989,                                                               
he  offered  that the  fall  of  the  Union of  Soviet  Socialist                                                               
Republics   (USSR)   [officially   dissolved  in   1991],   while                                                               
ultimately a  good thing, had an  incredibly destabilizing effect                                                               
on world  politics.   He said a  geopolitical system  governed by                                                               
two  competing superpowers  and  the nuclear  policy of  mutually                                                               
assured destruction,  while tenuous and disquieting,  had created                                                               
a  great  deal of  stability  in  nuclear proliferation.    Since                                                               
collapse of the  USSR, however, the world has  been confronted by                                                               
a  new  threat  of  so-called  rogue  nations  that  now  possess                                                               
nuclear, biological,  and chemical  capabilities; the  closest of                                                               
these new threats to Alaska, in particular, is North Korea.                                                                     
MR.  HILYARD cited  an interview  in the  Capital City  Weekly in                                                             
which U.S.  Senator Ted Stevens  said about North Korea  that its                                                               
new missile is capable of going  a lot farther than [North Korea]                                                               
has acknowledged, that  it has made warheads  that carry chemical                                                               
and  biological  weapons,  and  that this  is  cause  for  worry.                                                               
Mr. Hilyard  also quoted  President  Bush as  saying [during  his                                                               
2000 campaign]  that America's development  of a  missile defense                                                               
is a search for security, not a search for advantage.                                                                           
MR. HILYARD pointed out that  committee packets include a copy of                                                               
H.R. 1453,  sponsored by Congressman  David Vitter  of Louisiana,                                                               
which Mr.  Hilyard said  [HJR 10] essentially  mirrors.   He read                                                               
the body of the congressional bill, which stated:                                                                               
     The Secretary  of Defense shall direct  the Director of                                                                    
     the  Missile  Defense  Agency   of  the  Department  of                                                                    
     Defense   to    design   and   deploy   as    soon   as                                                                    
     technologically  possible  a land-based  and  sea-based                                                                    
     missile  defense   system  capable  of   defending  the                                                                    
     national  territory   of  the  United   States  against                                                                    
     ballistic missile attack.                                                                                                  
MR. HILYARD said  this is one of the White  House's priorities in                                                               
terms of revitalizing the national military.                                                                                    
Number 1415                                                                                                                     
STACEY  FRITZ, No  Nukes North,  informed members  that No  Nukes                                                               
North  is  a  503(c)(3)  nonprofit  organization  that  seeks  to                                                               
promote educated  opposition to  missile defense.   She explained                                                               
that she'd recently  finished her graduate thesis  on the subject                                                               
of  missile  defense at  the  [University  of Alaska  Fairbanks].                                                               
Agreeing with much  of what was stated about the  end of the Cold                                                               
War  and the  subsequent instability  and nuclear  proliferation,                                                               
she also agreed that North Korea  poses a nuclear threat and that                                                               
terrorists in rogue  nations are acquiring nuclear  weapons.  She                                                               
said, however:                                                                                                                  
     What I  see as a  main problem with this  entire debate                                                                    
     is that no one's been  asked the question, "What is the                                                                    
     best  way  to  address  those threats?"    They  simply                                                                    
     assume that  building a missile  defense system  is the                                                                    
     best way to  do that, and I would  certainly argue that                                                                    
     that is not the case.                                                                                                      
Number 1335                                                                                                                     
MS. FRITZ highlighted the fact that the first "WHEREAS" clause                                                                  
in HJR 10 relates to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty                                                                     
(ABM) and says the USSR no longer exists.  She told members:                                                                    
     I  think it's  curious  that it  was  included in  this                                                                    
     resolution  because, as  many people  know, the  United                                                                    
     States has already  unilaterally abandoned this treaty.                                                                    
     And I think  that it's also, even though  the treaty no                                                                    
     longer  exists, still  worth  pointing  out that  [with                                                                    
     regard  to] this  logic for  abandoning  this treaty  -                                                                    
     stating  that it  was  signed by  the  country that  no                                                                    
     longer exists  - certainly President Bush  Sr. affirmed                                                                    
     that Russia  ... inherited the  treaties that  the USSR                                                                    
     had signed.                                                                                                                
     And if we  were to apply this kind of  logic to all the                                                                    
     treaties  that the  USSR had  signed,  Russia would  no                                                                    
     longer  have   to  abide  by  World   War  II  boundary                                                                    
     agreements or  the Geneva Protocol  of 1925.   So while                                                                    
     people  might   argue  that   there  are   reasons  for                                                                    
     abandoning the  ABM, "that the  USSR does not  exist" I                                                                    
     don't think  is a  very good  one.   And I  would argue                                                                    
     that the reasons that we  signed the treaty in 1972 are                                                                    
     just as  strong today as  they were then, and  that was                                                                    
     to  prevent  an  unstoppable and  very  expensive  arms                                                                    
     race. ...                                                                                                                  
     We could  argue all  day about whether  or not  the ...                                                                    
     missile  defense  system should  be  deployed.   But  I                                                                    
     think  that   the  main   thing  that   should  concern                                                                    
     Alaskans,  if  our  state  is  going  to  support  this                                                                    
     system, is  whether or  not this system  works.   And I                                                                    
     think it has been made  very clear, through the testing                                                                    
     program, that it does not work.   And I would go ... so                                                                    
     far as to say that it cannot work.                                                                                         
     And I'm not a physicist.   However, there were 15 Nobel                                                                    
     laureates  who signed  a letter  to Congress  affirming                                                                    
     that this  system would never  work.  It's  a technical                                                                    
     loser because  it cannot defend us  against very simple                                                                    
     countermeasures.   So it will never  be technologically                                                                    
     feasible in the real world.                                                                                                
     Certainly, we have demonstrated, in  a few of the tests                                                                    
     ... that  were not completely  rigged, that we  do have                                                                    
     the  capability to  intercept [an]  enemy missile  with                                                                    
     hit-to-kill technology,  but that doesn't  say anything                                                                    
     about this system working in the real world.                                                                               
CHAIR LYNN  asked that Ms.  Fritz limit her testimony  to another                                                               
Number 1120                                                                                                                     
MS.  FRITZ  agreed to  try  to  sum  it  up, but  emphasized  the                                                               
importance of  this issue.   She said the  system as it  is, with                                                               
the kinetic  hit-to-kill interceptor,  is incapable  of defending                                                               
against  (indisc.) and  countermeasures that  could be  within an                                                               
enemy  missile.   In  order  to  be "militarily  realistic,"  she                                                               
proposed  the  need  to  recognize that  there  will  be  serious                                                               
consideration of  returning to the  use of nuclear tips  on these                                                               
interceptors.   She  cautioned that  if this  resulted in  having                                                               
nuclear-tipped  interceptors at  Fort  Greely, the  use of  those                                                               
would spread radiation.                                                                                                         
CHAIR LYNN interjected and thanked Ms. Fritz for her testimony.                                                                 
Number 1081                                                                                                                     
RYAN TINSLEY, Member, Fairbanks  Coalition for Peace and Justice,                                                               
testified  on  the  fiscal  aspects  of  this  [missile  defense]                                                               
system.   Noting that since 1983  the U.S. has spent  $95 billion                                                               
on mission defense  deployment and still has  no workable system,                                                               
he  told  members  that  the "Star  Wars"  system  envisioned  by                                                               
President Bush will  cost at least $200 billion more  - with more                                                               
estimates by  the Bush Administration  itself already as  high as                                                               
$258 billion.                                                                                                                   
MR. TINSLEY  mentioned the current  federal fiscal  [deficit] and                                                               
reminded  members   that  Congress  has   cut  veteran-disability                                                               
funding,  while  more  than  $400  billion a  year  is  spent  on                                                               
[defense].   He mentioned social services  including health care,                                                               
education, and  social security, as  well as funding for  what he                                                               
considers  more  reasonable  defense  systems.    He  said  [U.S.                                                               
Senator] Ted  Stevens has  asked police  and fire  departments to                                                               
work  overtime without  pay.   Mr. Tinsley  concluded by  asking,                                                               
"When we  are spending so  much on defense  and we have  no money                                                               
for social  services, ...  what cost  does this  national missile                                                               
defense system  come with?   What  are we  going to  be defending                                                               
when  we  have  no  education,  no health  care,  and  no  social                                                               
Number 0947                                                                                                                     
STEVE   CLEARY,   Organizer,    Citizens   Opposed   to   Defense                                                               
Experimentation   (CODE);  Executive   Director,  Alaska   Public                                                               
Interest  Research Group  (AkPIRG), informed  the committee  that                                                               
CODE, a  10-member coalition,  has been  bringing up  the dangers                                                               
the  missile  defense system  will  pose  to  Alaska.   He  noted                                                               
Alaska's long  history of use as  a military test site  - as seen                                                               
at Amchitka in  the late 1960s and  1970s - and as  a toxic dump,                                                               
since more  than 600 military toxic  sites are yet to  be cleaned                                                               
up.  He told the committee:                                                                                                     
     We're worried  that bringing an unproven  technology to                                                                    
     this  state   will  expose   Alaska  and   Alaskans  to                                                                    
     potential threats.   We saw  ... a botched  launch from                                                                    
     Kodiak  have to  be  exploded a  minute after  takeoff.                                                                    
     Well, if  that happens  out near  Fort Greely,  we know                                                                    
     the pipeline's  only a few  miles away from  there, and                                                                    
     it might  put one  of our major  infrastructure systems                                                                    
     ... in jeopardy.                                                                                                           
     We're also concerned  that it's going to  give the U.S.                                                                    
     a false sense of security,  since, as you've heard, ...                                                                    
     the  missile   defense  system  has  not   been  proven                                                                    
     effective.  And also, as  Mr. Tinsley was saying, there                                                                    
     are  other threats  and other  needs  to be  addressed.                                                                    
     The  CIA [Central  Intelligence  Agency] even  suggests                                                                    
     that  this   is  ...  the   least  likely   threat,  an                                                                    
     intercontinental ballistic  missile.  So I  believe our                                                                    
     money  would be  better spent  on helping  veterans who                                                                    
     have already  - and are  already - suffering,  and with                                                                    
     other unmet homeland security needs.                                                                                       
     I  was  disappointed  to see  the  legislature  pass  a                                                                    
     resolution in  support of a railroad  [to Fort Greely],                                                                    
     again, ...  that we might  have to fund to  Fort Greely                                                                    
     when we  don't know that  this system is proven  and we                                                                    
     don't know where that money is coming from.                                                                                
Number 0801                                                                                                                     
CHAIR LYNN asked  whether anyone else wished to  testify; he then                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  offered  that  from  the  information  he'd                                                               
received, there  are no  nuclear-tipped weapons.   He  asked what                                                               
level  of  expertise  Ms.  Fritz  has  in  talking  about  highly                                                               
technical areas.                                                                                                                
MS. FRITZ answered that she isn't  a physicist, but has spent the                                                               
past  four  years  researching  this  subject  for  her  master's                                                               
degree, which  she has  received.  With  regard to  nuclear tips,                                                               
she  reported that  she  works closely  with  Michael Roston,  an                                                               
analyst  with  the  Russian American  Nuclear  Security  Advisory                                                               
Council in  Washington, D.C.; he  has informed her  that although                                                               
within  the missile  defense budget  it  is no  longer legal  for                                                               
study  of  nuclear-tipped  interceptors  to  go  on,  study  does                                                               
continue  in  other  (indisc.).    She  offered  to  obtain  more                                                               
information for the committee.                                                                                                  
Number 0649                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  asked Mr. Tinsley  what he would  consider a                                                               
reasonable national defense system.                                                                                             
MR.  TINSLEY acknowledged  the complexity  of that  question, and                                                               
said he believes a more  realistic threat would be something that                                                               
comes into the ports; he said  the money would be better spent in                                                               
beefing  up port  security, for  one  thing.   He also  expressed                                                               
concern about  removing money from  potential foreign  aid, which                                                               
he indicated  perhaps could  change the  views of  terrorists and                                                               
others   in  foreign   countries;  he   suggested  that   perhaps                                                               
disseminating some of this money  to have-nots in other countries                                                               
might keep  the U.S.  from needing to  defend and  fortify itself                                                               
against them.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  asked how much  foreign aid the  U.S. should                                                               
have given Osama  bin Laden to prevent [the  terrorist attacks of                                                               
September 11, 2001].                                                                                                            
MR. TINSLEY answered:                                                                                                           
     I think that,  first of all, maybe the  CIA should have                                                                    
     considered  not  training  Osama   bin  Laden  and  not                                                                    
     funding the  Taliban, as  well as  not funding  ... and                                                                    
     putting  Saddam Hussein  into power  [in Iraq]  and not                                                                    
     selling him  the chemical weapons  and not  okaying the                                                                    
     use  of chemical  weapons in  [the] Iran-Iraq  war with                                                                    
     the [United Nations (UN)] resolution.  ... I think that                                                                    
     we need to seriously  consider how we conduct ourselves                                                                    
     in ... foreign affairs.                                                                                                    
Number 0425                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  LYNN asked  whether there  was  any committee  discussion;                                                               
none was offered.                                                                                                               
Number 0414                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK moved  to report  HJR 10  out of  committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
note;  she   requested  unanimous   consent.    There   being  no                                                               
objection, HJR 10  was reported from the  House Special Committee                                                               
on Military and Veterans' Affairs.                                                                                              
HB 228-STATE EMPLOYEES CALLED TO MILITARY DUTY                                                                                
[Contains discussion  relating to  SB 26,  the companion  bill in                                                               
the Senate, and to HJR 18]                                                                                                      
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  228, "An Act relating to state  employees who are                                                               
called  to active  duty as  reserve or  auxiliary members  of the                                                               
armed  forces  of  the  United   States;  and  providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
Number 0334                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BETH  KERTTULA, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor                                                               
of HB 228, thanked Senator  Elton for the original legislation on                                                               
the Senate side  [SB 26, also sponsored by Senator  Taylor].  She                                                               
deferred to Tracy Wendt to present the legislation.                                                                             
Number 0284                                                                                                                     
TRACY  WENDT, Intern  for  Representative  Beth Kerttula,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,  informed  members  that  HB  228  gives  the                                                               
governor the  authority to  instate pay  and benefits  for [state                                                               
employees who are] members of the  armed forces who are called to                                                               
active  duty or  who  are on  call.   The  intent  is to  provide                                                               
benefits  and any  difference between  [active-duty pay]  and the                                                               
full  salary  that the  employee  would  have received  from  the                                                               
state.   Thus the bill  ensures that families aren't  left having                                                               
to deal with  financial obligations for their loved  ones who are                                                               
away fighting in a  war.  She said one concern  with the bill was                                                               
the desire not to intentionally  eliminate any group.  Therefore,                                                               
the  desire is  to  have it  apply to  anyone  that the  governor                                                               
chooses  [to have  it apply  to]; however,  this is  optional and                                                               
isn't mandated.                                                                                                                 
Number 0151                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  brought  attention  to  Amendment  A.1,                                                               
labeled 23-LS0894\A.1, Craver, 4/14/03, which read:                                                                             
     Page 1, line 1, following "duty":                                                                                        
          Insert "or ordered to full-time service"                                                                            
     Page 1, lines 9 - 11:                                                                                                      
          Delete "including the organized militia of                                                                            
     Alaska, consisting  of the  Alaska National  Guard, the                                                                    
     Alaska  Naval Militia,  and  the  Alaska State  Defense                                                                    
     Page 1, line 11, following "duty":                                                                                         
          Insert "or ordered to full-time service"                                                                              
MS. WENDT  explained that there  had been concern  about omitting                                                               
some groups  such as the U.S.  Coast Guard, but the  intent isn't                                                               
to  do that.    Therefore, Amendment  A.1  restates the  language                                                               
broadly  enough  that  the  bill  applies  to  any  armed  forces                                                               
[branch] or auxiliary of the armed forces.                                                                                      
Number 0076                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG [moved to adopt] Amendment A.1.                                                                        
CHAIR   LYNN  indicated   Amendment  A.1   was  adopted   without                                                               
MS.  WENDT, in  response  to  a question  from  Chair Lynn,  said                                                               
people  would get  their state  pay or  less.   She said  this is                                                               
really more for benefits.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK  offered her  belief that  this will  have a                                                               
fiscal impact because of the way it is written.                                                                                 
TAPE 03-7, SIDE A                                                                                                             
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  said  that  is right  if  the  governor                                                               
chooses to implement this.   That's why there is an indeterminate                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said that is why  she has a problem with the                                                               
bill.   Saying  she appreciates  that state  employees volunteer,                                                               
she reiterated concern about a budgetary impact.                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN agreed that it seems there will be a fiscal impact.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  explained  that people  who  volunteer,                                                               
when they  go to active  duty, may suddenly lose  their benefits,                                                               
as will  their families.   They definitely,  in many  cases, lose                                                               
pay as well.   She emphasized that these  people are volunteering                                                               
"for us."   She said, "We felt that we  should allow the governor                                                               
the authority to  go ahead and do  this if he felt like  it.  The                                                               
reason it's an indeterminate amount  is, as with many other bills                                                               
we're seeing this session, they  just don't know."  She mentioned                                                               
an estimate on  similar legislation last year of  $80,000 that it                                                               
would have cost the state.                                                                                                      
CHAIR LYNN noted that everyone wouldn't be called to duty.                                                                      
Number 0220                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  asked  what  would happen  with  regard  to                                                               
benefits if someone were killed while  on military duty.  He also                                                               
asked  what would  happen  if  the person  decided  to remain  on                                                               
military duty with  the regular state pay and  other benefits for                                                               
30 years.  He asked whether there is any remedy for this.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  said she would  double check.   She then                                                               
remarked that if  a person weren't covered  under state benefits,                                                               
those easily could be lost.                                                                                                     
CHAIR  LYNN said  this is  a valid  point, but  suggested hearing                                                               
testimony  and  then holding  the  bill  over.   He  called  upon                                                               
Lieutenant  Commander  Honse, thanking  him  for  service to  his                                                               
Number 0439                                                                                                                     
CHRIS  HONSE, Lieutenant  Commander, Director,  U.S. Coast  Guard                                                               
Auxiliary for District  17, told members the U.S.  Coast Guard is                                                               
simultaneously an  armed service  of the  United States  under 10                                                               
U.S.C. 101 and  a law enforcement agency under 14  U.S.C. 89.  As                                                               
the lead  federal agency  for maritime  homeland security,  it is                                                               
responsible  for upholding  America's  maritime security  against                                                               
terroristic   threats,   with   the  imperative   of   preserving                                                               
fundamental liberties  and economic  well-being.  It  has active-                                                               
duty,  civilian,  reserve,  and  auxiliary  personnel.    As  its                                                               
missions  and  responsibilities  continue  to  expand  under  the                                                               
Department  of   Homeland  Security,  the  dependence   on  every                                                               
component   of    the   U.S.    Coast   Guard's    forces   grows                                                               
LIEUTENANT  COMMANDER HONSE  noted  that the  Alaska Coast  Guard                                                               
reserve  component   includes  42   (indisc.)  reserves   and  28                                                               
"inactive ready reserves."   Of the 80 U.S.  Coast Guard reserves                                                               
serving currently  under "Title 10" orders  throughout Alaska, 38                                                               
reside permanently  in Alaska; of  those, 6 are  state employees.                                                               
He reported  that current reserve  members serve as  sea marshals                                                               
and provide protection.   He noted that the  statutory purpose of                                                               
the  U.S. Coast  Guard  Auxiliary was  expanded  under the  Coast                                                               
Guard authorization Act of 1996.                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT  COMMANDER HONSE  said  currently there  are 403  U.S.                                                               
Coast Guard  Auxiliary members in  Alaska.  Although  they cannot                                                               
be called to  active duty, commonly they are  placed on "official                                                               
orders"  to   provide  support  in   executing  search-and-rescue                                                               
missions,  responding to  environmental pollution,  "backfilling"                                                               
active-duty  positions, and  conducting low-risk  harbor patrols.                                                               
As   volunteers,   they   receive   no   monetary   compensation.                                                               
Continuation of pay  and benefits would assist  these members, he                                                               
said,  since  it would  help  alleviate  financial concerns,  add                                                               
stability,  and   reduce  uncertainty  while  these   people  are                                                               
deployed away from their families.                                                                                              
Number 0703                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH asked how  many U.S. Coast Guard members                                                               
would be affected by this bill.                                                                                                 
LIEUTENANT  COMMANDER   HONSE  said  6  for   the  reserves,  and                                                               
estimated 20 to 30 on the auxiliary side.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  WEYHRAUCH  noted  that  Section 3  says  this  is                                                               
retroactive to September  11, 2001, but that Section  4 also says                                                               
this Act  takes effect  immediately.  He  asked about  the former                                                               
and  suggested that  a retroactive  date to  September 11,  2001,                                                               
would  take care  of  some  of the  indeterminate  nature of  the                                                               
fiscal  impact,  since   the  impact  since  that   date  can  be                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said it's a  good point and could provide                                                               
at least a  range.  Referring to  Representative Fate's questions                                                               
and surmising that  the issue is whether someone  could abuse the                                                               
system and  double-dip, she  asked whether  there have  been such                                                               
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER HONSE said he wasn't aware of any.                                                                         
CHAIR  LYNN  remarked  that  most  people  who  retire  from  the                                                               
military  after  20 years  cannot  live  on military  retirement,                                                               
whatever their rank, with a few exceptions "who wear stars."                                                                    
Number 0898                                                                                                                     
JULIE  BENSON testified  as the  wife  of a  man who  is a  state                                                               
trooper  and a  member  of  the Air  National  Guard.   She  told                                                               
     This bill is important to  our family specifically.  My                                                                    
     husband has  been a trooper  for four years,  and we're                                                                    
     currently  stationed   in  Ketchikan.    We   have  one                                                                    
     daughter, with  another child due  in July.   After six                                                                    
     years  of  active  military service,  Adam  joined  the                                                                    
     Alaska Air  National Guard  as a  KC-135 crew  chief in                                                                    
     Last year,  after the tragic events  of September 11th,                                                                    
     Adam's  unit, the  168th Air  Refueling  Wing based  at                                                                    
     Eielson  Air  Force  Base, was  activated.    For  this                                                                    
     family, activation  means that Adam is  taken away from                                                                    
     us for  as long as  the United States  government needs                                                                    
     his  services.    Last  year, Adam  was  gone  for  six                                                                    
     months.  There is no way  for us to know when the Guard                                                                    
     will call again  or for how long Adam will  be gone the                                                                    
     next time.                                                                                                                 
     I  would like  to help  you understand  that HB  228 is                                                                    
     essential legislation for state  employees who make the                                                                    
     difficult  choice to  serve not  only their  state, but                                                                    
     also  their country.   When  my  husband was  activated                                                                    
     last summer,  our benefits through his  employment as a                                                                    
     trooper were  immediately discontinued.   This resulted                                                                    
     in lost  retirement contributions  as well as  the loss                                                                    
     of certain  pay raises  he would  have received  had he                                                                    
     remained employed by  the state.  Adam and  I feel that                                                                    
     any  loss of  pay and  benefits due  to his  activation                                                                    
     just is not right.                                                                                                         
     The individuals who choose to  perform service to their                                                                    
     country  as well  as their  state are  exemplary public                                                                    
     servants  and should  not be  penalized  by the  state,                                                                    
     especially at  a time  of significant  national crisis.                                                                    
     These people  are federal  and state  servants because,                                                                    
     as you've noted,  they choose to be -  not because they                                                                    
     have to be.                                                                                                                
     Just  last  Friday,  House   Joint  Resolution  18  was                                                                    
     transmitted to  the Office  of the  Governor, and  as I                                                                    
     understand it,  HJR 18  calls for  full support  of the                                                                    
     men  and women  who are  currently protecting  not only                                                                    
     our freedom, but the freedom  of citizens abroad.  This                                                                    
     resolution is  a wonderful show  of support.   However,                                                                    
     these  words  don't  mean  very   much  when  the  same                                                                    
     administration  denied   my  husband  his   annual  pay                                                                    
     increase  based  on the  grounds  that  he had,  quote,                                                                    
     "failed to  demonstrate a greater value  to the state",                                                                    
     end  quote.   He was  unable to  demonstrate a  greater                                                                    
     value to the state because  he had been deployed to the                                                                    
     Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.                                                                      
Number 1088                                                                                                                     
MS. BENSON continued:                                                                                                           
     My husband  is a unique individual  who feels compelled                                                                    
     to  serve in  every  aspect of  his professional  life.                                                                    
     When he  left the Army,  there was never a  question of                                                                    
     whether or not he would  continue to serve his country.                                                                    
     He immediately joined an active  Air Guard unit that is                                                                    
     frequently deploying its members  worldwide.  Though we                                                                    
     understood  the potential  sacrifice of  this decision,                                                                    
     it  was never  up for  debate.   Civil service  is what                                                                    
     Adam is all about.   And despite the family compromises                                                                    
     that we  make, I'm  so thankful for  the men  and women                                                                    
     like my husband, and I'm very proud to be his wife.                                                                        
     The  passage of  this bill  is the  right thing  to do.                                                                    
     Under current state  policy, the men and  women who are                                                                    
     called to  service are punished by  their employer, the                                                                    
     State  of Alaska.   I  doubt that  the passage  of this                                                                    
     bill  will change  any of  their decisions  to continue                                                                    
     their voluntary military service.  It's just what they                                                                     
     do because it's the right thing for them to do.                                                                            
     The right  thing for  the rest  of us to  do is  to use                                                                    
     every  avenue available  to support  them  as they  and                                                                    
     their  families make  incredible sacrifices  to protect                                                                    
     and to  defend.  Please  support the men and  women who                                                                    
     choose to serve  our great nation and  our great state,                                                                    
     by supporting House Bill 228.                                                                                              
CHAIR  LYNN noted  that  he'd sponsored  HJR 18.    He asked  Ms.                                                               
Benson to [thank her husband for his service].                                                                                  
Number 1248                                                                                                                     
MS. BENSON,  in response to  questions from  Representative Fate,                                                               
said her husband only receives payment  for being in the Guard or                                                               
the reserves  when he  is there  working for them.   There  is no                                                               
supplement to  his state trooper  pay just because he  chooses to                                                               
be in the Guard.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  asked whether Mr.  Benson was on  leave from                                                               
the troopers while serving with the Guard.                                                                                      
MS. BENSON said he was on military leave.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE surmised  that  Mr. Benson  had one  salary,                                                               
either from the troopers or the Guard.                                                                                          
MS. BENSON affirmed that.                                                                                                       
Number 1330                                                                                                                     
DEBRA   GERRISH  began   by  addressing   a  question   posed  by                                                               
Representative Fate  earlier.   She said  the federal  law called                                                               
USERRA  [Uniformed Services  Employment  and Reemployment  Rights                                                               
Act  of 1994]  provides for  holding an  employee's job  for only                                                               
five years.   After that  five years is  up, the person's  job is                                                               
gone.   Noting that  she is the  wife of an  officer in  the Army                                                               
National Guard  who has served  for 22 years, Ms.  Gerrish agreed                                                               
with Ms. Benson's testimony that  these people serve because they                                                               
feel it is the right thing to do.                                                                                               
MS. GERRISH told members she is  very interested in this bill and                                                               
has done a lot  of research on it.  She  noted that Tennessee has                                                               
done something  similar through Executive  Order 4.   Also noting                                                               
that she'd testified  on a similar bill last  session that didn't                                                               
pass,  she told  members she'd  looked at  what she  could remove                                                               
from the  bill, if necessary, in  order that it could  pass.  She                                                               
reported  that when  her husband  is deployed,  the family  loses                                                               
$15,000 to  live on, but can  survive [on the salary].   However,                                                               
she  must  have  the  health   benefits.    Her  family  has  two                                                               
asthmatics and cannot  afford to lose those  benefits.  Therefore                                                               
she asked that the health-benefits aspect be retained above all.                                                                
MS. GERRISH provided an example.   Her husband is deployed on the                                                               
26th of  a month, called  to active  duty.  The  [state] benefits                                                               
extend to the end of that  month.  Then, according to Alaska law,                                                               
he can  ask for  another month  of health  benefits.   After that                                                               
month is over, however, the family  has nothing.  She pointed out                                                               
that when  someone is called up  by the Army, the  person must be                                                               
called up for  a particular number of days  before dependents are                                                               
covered.   She said  there were people  called up  [following the                                                               
terrorist  attacks  of September  11,  2001]  whose kids  had  no                                                               
insurance for months.   She stressed the need to  look at how the                                                               
different laws work together.                                                                                                   
MS.  GERRISH reported  that she'd  called  Tennessee, where  many                                                               
National Guard members who also  are state workers are covered by                                                               
[Tennessee's   executive   order   that  is   similar   to   this                                                               
legislation].   She  concluded by  saying  she can  scrape by  on                                                               
military  pay,   although  it  is  difficult   for  some  others.                                                               
However,  loss of  health benefits  is  hard on  everybody.   She                                                               
pointed  out that  people making  $15,000 or  less a  year cannot                                                               
afford COBRA  [Comprehensive Omnibus Budget Reform  Act] payments                                                               
for insurance.                                                                                                                  
Number 1623                                                                                                                     
BUTCH  STEIN  began  by  referring  to  USERRA,  suggesting  that                                                               
everyone read  Title 38,  Chapter 43 [of  the United  States Code                                                               
(U.S.C.)].      He  suggested   that   would   address  some   of                                                               
Representative Fate's  questions, for  instance.  He  agreed with                                                               
Ms. Gerrish that the maximum [for  an employer to have to hold an                                                               
employee's job] is five years.  He then told members:                                                                           
     The reason  I want to talk  to the group is  not on the                                                                    
     monetary side.   I'm just talking about  the parts that                                                                    
     USERRA addresses,  which is, one, that  you cannot deny                                                                    
     a person  employment because of  their activity  in the                                                                    
     uniformed services, and you  cannot discriminate ... or                                                                    
     take  any  actions  against them  ...  because  they're                                                                    
     members of the uniformed services.                                                                                         
     You cannot charge  them vacation time.   Now, the State                                                                    
     of  Alaska  authorizes,  I believe,  it's  16  days  of                                                                    
     military leave  per year.   But if they  are activated,                                                                    
     some  employers would  like  to say  they  have to  use                                                                    
     their personal  vacation or leave  time while  they are                                                                    
     gone.  That is not  correct; that's against the federal                                                                    
     All benefits available  at the time of call  up to duty                                                                    
     are   immediately  available   upon  return   to  work.                                                                    
     There's no  waiting period  involved.   You're entitled                                                                    
     to, day  one, when you get  back to work, ...  all your                                                                    
     benefits in return.                                                                                                        
Number 1710                                                                                                                     
MR.  STEIN suggested  there may  be a  violation involved  in the                                                               
situation described  by Ms. Benson  with respect to  her husband,                                                               
suggesting  his anniversary  date  may have  been changed,  which                                                               
directly affects  benefits, retirement,  and so  forth.   He said                                                               
this  flies  in  the  face  of the  federal  law,  and  he  again                                                               
encouraged looking  at the  federal law.   He reiterated  that he                                                               
was  addressing not  the monetary  aspects,  but the  protections                                                               
that people  should have while  serving in the military  and upon                                                               
their return.                                                                                                                   
MR.  STEIN said  50 percent  of the  U.S. military  are Guard  or                                                               
reserve  members, and  shouldn't be  penalized for  participating                                                               
and  protecting  the rights  of  others.   Referring  to  earlier                                                               
discussion, he agreed this service  is voluntary, but pointed out                                                               
that a person  can be called to  active duty for as  long as five                                                               
years; although he recalled that it  was only two [years] for any                                                               
one campaign, he noted that  campaigns can change [rapidly], such                                                               
as  the  change  from  Afghanistan   to  Iraq.    He  said  these                                                               
volunteers love  their state and  country, and "represent  us 100                                                               
percent."  He  added, "To think of them in  any other light would                                                               
be a  real miscarriage of  justice as far  as how we  think about                                                               
these people.  These people are true patriots."                                                                                 
MR.  STEIN  offered that  HJR  18  seems  to really  support  the                                                               
troops,  and suggested  that is  the direction  to continue.   He                                                               
mentioned collective  bargaining and  labor agreements,  and said                                                               
all of them should  be brought in line with the  federal law.  He                                                               
again  emphasized  his  desire  that  people  in  the  Guard  and                                                               
reserves  not be  discriminated against,  either when  going into                                                               
active duty or when returning from that service.                                                                                
Number 1864                                                                                                                     
MR. STEIN  closed by referring  to an article he'd  read recently                                                               
that said if a military person  expires while on duty, the spouse                                                               
receives  $90 a  month until  remarriage, the  children get  $250                                                               
[apiece]  a month  until  age  18, and  there  is a  lump-payment                                                               
settlement of about $8,000.   He suggested that isn't much money.                                                               
He  pointed out  that the  people who  suffered on  September 11,                                                               
2001,  averaged about  $1.2 million  as  a settlement.   He  said                                                               
there is something askew here,  and questioned the ability to put                                                               
a monetary value on a patriot's service.                                                                                        
Number 1913                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  LYNN thanked  participants and  asked whether  anyone else                                                               
wished to testify;  he then closed public testimony.   Chair Lynn                                                               
announced that HB 288 would be held over.                                                                                       
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special Committee  on Military and Veterans'  Affairs meeting was                                                               
adjourned at 5:14 p.m.                                                                                                          

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