Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/01/2003 03:15 PM 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                                                                                      
                          May 1, 2003                                                                                           
                           3:15 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom                                                                                                  
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hugh Fate                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
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."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 228(MLV) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 14                                                                                                   
Relating to urging that the 2006 National Veterans Wheelchair                                                                   
Games be held in Anchorage, Alaska.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HJR 14 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 185                                                                                                              
"An  Act changing  the name  of  the Department  of Military  and                                                               
Veterans'  Affairs to  the Department  of Military  and Veterans'                                                               
Affairs  and Homeland  Security; and  providing for  an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
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 -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
03/31/03     0712       (H)        MLV, STA, FIN                                                                                
04/07/03     0831       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): LYNN                                                                           
04/15/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
04/15/03                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
04/15/03                (H)        MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                  
04/16/03     1018       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): GARA                                                                           
04/24/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                   
04/24/03                (H)        -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                       
05/01/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 14                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:NATIONAL WHEELCHAIR GAMES                                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)CROFT                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/10/03     0490       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
03/10/03     0490       (H)        MLV, STA                                                                                     
04/15/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
04/15/03                (H)        Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                      
04/24/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                   
04/24/03                (H)        -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                       
05/01/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 185                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:RENAMING DEPT. MILITARY/VETERANS AFFAIRS                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/12/03     0511       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
03/12/03     0511       (H)        MLV, STA                                                                                     
03/12/03     0511       (H)        REFERRED TO MLV                                                                              
03/27/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 102                                                                   
03/27/03                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
03/27/03                (H)        MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                  
05/01/03                (H)        MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BETH KERTTULA                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   As  sponsor of  HB 228,  answered questions                                                               
raised at both the previous hearing and the current one.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TRACY WENDT, Intern                                                                                                             
for Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   In response  to a  question about  HB 228,                                                               
said it would have to be researched.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARK GNADT, Staff                                                                                                               
to Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented   HJR  14   on   behalf   of                                                               
Representative Croft, sponsor.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN MACAULAY                                                                                                                  
Alaska Disabled Veteran Sports Program, Inc.                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   During hearing  on HJR 15,  testified about                                                               
the benefits of bringing the wheelchair games to Alaska.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA HOPKINS                                                                                                                 
Alaska Disabled Veteran Sports Program, Inc.                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  on  HJR  15;  commended  these                                                               
veterans  for their  courage and  expressed hope  that the  games                                                               
would inspire other veterans as well.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CRAMER, Director                                                                                                           
Administrative Services Division                                                                                                
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented HB 185 and explained  most of the                                                               
proposed committee substitute, Version S.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-8, SIDE A                                                                                                             
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BOB  LYNN called  the House  Special Committee  on Military                                                             
and   Veterans'   Affairs  meeting   to   order   at  3:15   p.m.                                                               
Representatives Lynn, Masek,  Weyhrauch, Dahlstrom, and Gruenberg                                                               
were  present  at  the  call to  order.    Representative  Cissna                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 228-STATE EMPLOYEES CALLED TO MILITARY DUTY                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  first 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."    [HB  228  had  been  heard  and  amended  on                                                               
4/15/03.]                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0068                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BETH  KERTTULA, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor                                                               
of  HB 228,  reminded  members  that this  bill  would allow  the                                                               
governor to offer  members of the military the  difference in pay                                                               
between  what they  are receiving  while  on duty  and what  they                                                               
would have  received if  they had  remained in  state employment.                                                               
She commended  her staff  for work  in addressing  questions that                                                               
had arisen at the previous meeting.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA,  addressing  a  fiscal  concern  voiced                                                               
previously   by   Representative   Masek,   told   members   that                                                               
departments'  budgets  already  include  the  cost  of  full-time                                                               
salaries  and benefits  for all  state employees;  therefore, the                                                               
cost to the state would only  be the difference between the state                                                               
pay and active-duty pay, since  other benefits already would have                                                               
been  budgeted  for.    The  costs would  only  increase  if  the                                                               
person's   position  needed   to   be   filled  during   military                                                               
deployment.  Because the average  duration of activation is three                                                               
months, she  opined that  likely there wouldn't  be a  big fiscal                                                               
impact if the governor chose to use this option.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0167                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA   addressed  previous   questions  about                                                               
current  leave procedures.    She said  state  employees who  are                                                               
called  to active  duty or  who are  under [military]  orders are                                                               
treated the  same as  an employee  who takes  an unpaid  leave of                                                               
absence.   This is the  problem with the health  insurance, which                                                               
only continues  to the last day  of the month in  which the leave                                                               
is taken;  the state's retirement division  complies with federal                                                               
law on  that.   Under federal guidelines,  an individual  must be                                                               
activated for more than 180  days before military health benefits                                                               
will  begin.   Because  the  average  duration is  three  months,                                                               
however, that  leaves a  gap.   As for the  number of  people the                                                               
bill would  affect, she  noted that from  September 11,  2001, to                                                               
April 2002 there  were 180 executive-branch employees  in the Air                                                               
National Guard or  Army National Guard; of those,  41 were called                                                               
to active duty,  and of those, only 8 received  less military pay                                                               
than state pay.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0286                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM commended  Representative Kerttula  for                                                               
her  effort,  saying  she  believes this  is  worthwhile  and  is                                                               
another small  way to  thank those  men and  women who  put their                                                               
lives on the line for the country.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   MASEK   thanked  Representative   Kerttula   for                                                               
addressing her fiscal questions from the previous hearing.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0345                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  noted  that this  becomes  implemented                                                               
through  an  administrative  order   and  asked  how  often  that                                                               
procedure is used.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0413                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TRACY  WENDT, Intern  for  Representative  Beth Kerttula,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, said she'd have to look into it.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG expressed  concern that  this may  be a                                                               
new  procedure  in  a  relatively   noncontroversial  bill.    He                                                               
mentioned   promulgating   emergency    regulations   under   the                                                               
Administrative Procedure Act (APA), for  instance.  He asked that                                                               
the  sponsor look  into those  issues, saying  that otherwise  he                                                               
would  move to  amend this  in the  House State  Affairs Standing                                                               
Committee.  He  said he wants this to be  standardized so that it                                                               
doesn't require reinventing the wheel or result in litigation.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referred to the phrase  "issuance of an                                                               
administrative  order"  on lines  7-8  [page  1].   He  suggested                                                               
saying  instead, "issuance  of regulations".   He  said doing  it                                                               
under the APA  would avoid saying that this isn't  subject to the                                                               
APA and so forth.  He also  suggested that if it's under the APA,                                                               
then emergency  regulations could  be issued,  for instance.   He                                                               
said there is a whole body of law about this.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0540                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM moved to report  HB 228, as amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying   fiscal  notes.      There   being  no   objection,                                                               
CSHB 228(MLV) was  reported from  the House Special  Committee on                                                               
Military and Veterans' Affairs.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  offered to have his  staff research the                                                               
issues he'd raised.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  said his points were  excellent and that                                                               
she  had some  answers  about the  emergency  regulations.   With                                                               
regard  to administrative  orders,  she offered  her belief  that                                                               
they exist.  [CSHB 228(MLV) was reported from committee.]                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HJR 14-NATIONAL WHEELCHAIR GAMES                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced that  the next order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 14, Relating to urging  that the 2006                                                               
National Veterans Wheelchair Games be held in Anchorage, Alaska.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0642                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MARK  GNADT, Staff  to Representative  Eric  Croft, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented HJR 14 on  behalf of Representative Croft,                                                               
sponsor.   He  explained that  these games  seem to  benefit many                                                               
people in the community and can  bring 550 to 600 participants as                                                               
well as  their families, trainers, and  so forth, for a  total of                                                               
perhaps  1,300  to  1,500  visitors to  the  Anchorage  area;  he                                                               
suggested these visitors  likely would travel to  other places in                                                               
Alaska.   He offered the expectation  that this will bring  in at                                                               
least a million dollars just for  lodging and food, based on $900                                                               
to  $1,000 per  participant.   Thus it  is expected  to bring  an                                                               
economic  benefit  as  well  as the  social  benefit  from  these                                                               
inspirational   games.      He    deferred   to   testifiers   on                                                               
teleconference.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0792                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  MACAULAY, Alaska  Disabled Veteran  Sports Program,  Inc.,                                                               
offered her  belief that this could  benefit "all of us"  in more                                                               
ways than  one.  She  recalled attending events with  people from                                                               
all 50 states plus Puerto Rico, and  said it made her feel a part                                                               
of  the   United  States,  since   she  was  being   granted  the                                                               
opportunity to do  the same events that other  veterans could do.                                                               
She suggested that  bringing these wheelchair games  to Alaska is                                                               
a big  way of  letting all  Alaskan veterans  feel that  they are                                                               
part of the veterans throughout the nation.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0936                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA HOPKINS,  Alaska Disabled  Veteran Sports  Program, Inc.,                                                               
noted that  she was one  of four  founders of the  sports program                                                               
and has  dedicated herself to  helping disabled  veterans, mainly                                                               
in memory  of her son,  a disabled  veteran who is  now deceased.                                                               
She lauded these  veterans for their courage,  and suggested that                                                               
bringing the  wheelchair games to  Alaska would  provide outreach                                                               
and  an example  to other  veterans  who perhaps  don't have  the                                                               
courage yet.  She noted that  Alaskan veterans must go to Seattle                                                               
for treatment  and that certain  funds aren't available  to them.                                                               
Pointing out that the wheelchair  games have 17 different events,                                                               
she mentioned fundraising, donations, and grants.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1083                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN asked  whether anyone else wished to  testify; he then                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN spoke  in strong support of HJR 14,  noting that he is                                                               
a retired military person and Vietnam veteran.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1116                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH moved to report  HJR 14 out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  [and forthcoming  zero  fiscal                                                               
note].                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN indicated that without  objection, HJR 14 was reported                                                               
from  the  House  Special Committee  on  Military  and  Veterans'                                                               
Affairs.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 185-RENAMING DEPT. MILITARY/VETERANS AFFAIRS                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  185, "An Act changing the name  of the Department                                                               
of Military and  Veterans' Affairs to the  Department of Military                                                               
and Veterans'  Affairs and Homeland  Security; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."   [HB 185 was sponsored by  the House Special                                                               
Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs.]                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1172                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to  adopt the  proposed committee                                                               
substitute  (CS), Version  23-LS0711\S,  Chenoweth, 4/28/03,  for                                                               
discussion purposes.   He opined  that an objection  was required                                                               
in order to put Version S before the committee.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN said he would entertain an objection.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG stated, "Then we have it before us."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1212                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN   CRAMER,   Director,  Administrative   Services   Division,                                                               
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA), told members:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     On  behalf  of  the  commissioner  of  our  department,                                                                    
     General Craig  Campbell, we want  to thank you  and the                                                                    
     committee members  for your work on  behalf of Alaskans                                                                    
     and  for bringing  forward  this committee  substitute.                                                                    
     Basically, this legislation  complements the governor's                                                                    
     Administrative  Order 203,  establishing the  office of                                                                    
     homeland security [within DMVA]  and setting up some of                                                                    
     those provisions.  It modernizes  Alaska Statute 26 and                                                                    
     brings some  of those  in line with  the needs  that we                                                                    
     have for this  office and for homeland  security in the                                                                    
     state of Alaska. ...  I  think the bill and the sponsor                                                                    
     statement pretty  well [identify] the benefits  and the                                                                    
     need for this bill to go through.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1256                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG announced  that  he'd  been taking  the                                                               
lead on  this and indicated he  and his staff, at  the request of                                                               
the committee, had  tried to send the bill to  various groups for                                                               
review.  He said a number of  groups will want to comment on this                                                               
but haven't had the  chance to do so yet.   He requested that Mr.                                                               
Cramer do a  section-by-section explanation and that  the bill be                                                               
held a  few days in  order to  provide for the  broadest possible                                                               
dissemination.      Noting   that   some   provisions   will   be                                                               
controversial,  he  said he  wanted  the  committee to  have  the                                                               
benefit of  knowing both  sides of  the arguments  and to  try to                                                               
resolve the problems before moving the bill along.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced  his intention of taking  testimony that day                                                               
and then  deciding whether to hold  the bill or move  it forward.                                                               
He indicated letters  had just been received  from attorney Wayne                                                               
Ross and the [Alaska Civil Liberties Union (AkCLU)].                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1369                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CRAMER  explained  that  the  bill  has  three  main  parts.                                                               
Revisions to  AS 26.20  update the chapter  and make  the statute                                                               
applicable to  homeland security  as well  as civil  defense, add                                                               
provisions  necessary to  meet current  and  future threats,  and                                                               
repeal obsolete and unnecessary  provisions.  The chapter heading                                                               
is changed from  "civil defense" to "homeland  security and civil                                                               
defense".       Throughout    AS    26.20,   homeland    security                                                               
responsibilities and  authority are added  to the  existing civil                                                               
defense responsibilities and authority  of the governor and DMVA.                                                               
The  bill directs  that  all state  homeland  security and  civil                                                               
defense  functions  be  coordinated   by,  through,  and  at  the                                                               
direction of  DMVA, with  the cooperation  and assistance  of all                                                               
state  agencies.   It establishes  and  enumerates the  statutory                                                               
powers  of the  Division  of Homeland  Security established  this                                                               
year  in DMVA  by  Administration Order 203.   Furthermore,  this                                                               
section's  statutory structure  parallels that  of AS  26.23.040,                                                               
which establishes the Division of Emergency Services.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. CRAMER  said the  bill authorizes the  governor to  declare a                                                               
state  of emergency  not only  in the  event of  an actual  enemy                                                               
attack against the state, as  presently provided, but also in the                                                               
event of a threat of attack  as determined by the commissioner of                                                               
DMVA  to be  credible.   It  amends the  definitions section,  AS                                                               
26.20.200,  to   add  new  definitions  of   "attack",  "homeland                                                               
security", and "private agency".                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1456                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CRAMER   reported  that  several  bill   sections  eliminate                                                               
obsolete or unnecessary provisions of  AS 26.20.  Foremost is the                                                               
elimination   throughout  the   references   to  "civil   defense                                                               
districts", entities  that DMVA is authorized  to designate under                                                               
AS  26.20.020(b)(11),  and  which  would  have  statutory  powers                                                               
specified in AS  26.20.060.  Noting that  civil defense districts                                                               
have  not been  designated,  he  remarked, "In  this  era, it  is                                                               
preferable  to use  and improve  the existing  emergency planning                                                               
and response  capabilities of municipalities, rather  than create                                                               
new organizations."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. CRAMER said other housekeeping  provisions in the bill repeal                                                               
specific  inclusion   of  DMVA's  authority  to   take  specified                                                               
measures such  as blackouts or  air-raid drills  without reducing                                                               
DMVA's overall authority to take  measures necessary for homeland                                                               
security and civil defense purposes.   The bill repeals a list of                                                               
specified  purposes for  reciprocal aid  agreements, leaving  the                                                               
specific   purposes  of   such  agreements   to  the   governor's                                                               
discretion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CRAMER said  the bill also repeals various  other obsolete or                                                               
unnecessary statutes,  including AS 26.25.050, AS  26.20.060, and                                                               
AS 26.20.070,  which all pertain  to civil defense  districts and                                                               
their  local  organizations;  AS  26.20.080,  authorizing  mobile                                                               
support  units; AS  26.20.090, authorizing  DMVA to  make surveys                                                               
and  investigations  and giving  it  the  power to  subpoena  the                                                               
attendance   of   witnesses    and   production   of   documents;                                                               
AS 26.20.120, providing  that orders  and regulations  adopted by                                                               
the  governor,  DMVA, or  a  district  have  the effect  of  law;                                                               
AS 26.20.130,  providing  that  federal,  state,  and  local  law                                                               
enforcement  authorities  shall  enforce orders  and  regulations                                                               
under AS  26.20; AS 26.20.170, prohibiting  political activity by                                                               
the civil  defense organization;  and AS 26.20.180,  penalizing a                                                               
violation  of  a  regulation  pertaining  to  blackouts,  alerts,                                                               
evacuation  procedures, or  any other  order or  regulation under                                                               
AS 26.20.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1557                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CRAMER addressed  revisions  in the  bill  to AS  26.20.140,                                                               
which  relates  to  immunity  of  the  government  and  employees                                                               
arising  out   of  civil  defense  activities.     Presently,  AS                                                               
26.20.140(a) provides  that the state, a  civil defense district,                                                               
and the  agents or representatives  of the state or  district may                                                               
not be held  liable for injury or property damage  sustained by a                                                               
volunteer  civilian  defense  worker;   the  bill  broadens  that                                                               
immunity  to cover  injury or  property damage  sustained by  any                                                               
homeland   security  or   civilian   defense  worker,   including                                                               
employees as  well as volunteers,  and it  substitutes "political                                                               
subdivision" for "district".                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CRAMER noted  that AS  26.20.140(b) currently  provides that                                                               
the  state  and  any  district established  [for]  civil  defense                                                               
purposes,   their   employees,    agents,   or   representatives,                                                               
authorized  volunteer or  auxiliary  civil  defense workers,  and                                                               
members  of   any  other  agency  engaged   in  civilian  defense                                                               
activities who are  complying with - or  reasonably attempting to                                                               
comply with - AS 26.20 or  an order or regulation issued under AS                                                               
26.20 are not liable for injury  to persons or damage to property                                                               
as a result of their activities.   The bill amends subsection (b)                                                               
to  provide immunity  for homeland  security activities  as well,                                                               
and  to  include  any  homeland   security  or  civilian  defense                                                               
activities undertaken  under authority  of AS 26.20.   Subsection                                                               
(b)  also  currently  provides  an  exception  to  the  grant  of                                                               
immunity in cases of wilful  misconduct, gross negligence, or bad                                                               
faith.   The bill amends  subsection (b) to provide  an exception                                                               
only  when  malice or  reckless  indifference  to the  interests,                                                               
rights,  or safety  of others  is shown  by clear  and convincing                                                               
evidence.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1640                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG remarked that  he'd been concerned about                                                               
subsection (b), page 11, lines 9-21.   He offered his belief that                                                               
this parallels  language in another  immunity bill  the committee                                                               
heard a couple of weeks before.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. CRAMER said he believed that was correct.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  informed members that at  some point he                                                               
would  move  to strike  page  11,  lines  9-21 [the  entirety  of                                                               
subsection (b)].                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1699                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  expressed  concern about  discussing  the                                                               
bill when so few committee members were present.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  concurred,  noting  that  only  three  members  were                                                               
present at this  time.  He confirmed that Sam  Johnson and Thomas                                                               
Burgess of DMVA were waiting to testify via teleconference.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked to hear their  testimony, even if                                                               
it required repetition  later.  He said this is  a very important                                                               
bill and pointed out that  Representative Cissna may have another                                                               
committee meeting to attend [the next time this is heard].                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1875                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced that his  preference was to  hear testimony                                                               
only once  and to schedule a  meeting at some other  time of day.                                                               
[HB 185 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The  House Special  Committee on  Military and  Veterans' Affairs                                                               
meeting was recessed at  3:50 p.m. to a call of  the chair.  [The                                                               
meeting was never reconvened.]                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects