Legislature(2015 - 2016)GRUENBERG 120

03/22/2016 03:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
03:04:37 PM Start
03:05:05 PM HJR30
03:44:52 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Time Change from 1:00 p.m. --
+= HJR 30 POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS INJURY TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 30(MLV) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
   HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                  
                         March 22, 2016                                                                                         
                           3:04 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bob Herron, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair                                                                                     
Representative Jim Colver                                                                                                       
Representative Shelley Hughes                                                                                                   
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 30                                                                                                   
Urging the  American Psychiatric  Association to change  the term                                                               
"post-traumatic  stress disorder"  or  "PTSD" to  "post-traumatic                                                               
stress  injury" or  "PTSI"; and  urging the  governor to  support                                                               
usage of the term "post-traumatic stress injury."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHJR 30(MLV) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 30                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS INJURY                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) HERRON                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/19/16       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/19/16       (H)       MLV, STA                                                                                               
03/15/16       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/15/16       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/15/16       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
03/22/16       (H)       MLV AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ROB EARL, Staff                                                                                                                 
Representative Bob Herron                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented committee  substitute (CS) for HJR                                                             
30, on behalf of Representative Herron, prime sponsor.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
KENT HALL, Vice President                                                                                                       
Honor for ALL                                                                                                                   
Williamston, Michigan                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 30.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS MAHANEY, President/Executive Director                                                                                    
Honor for ALL                                                                                                                   
Williamston, Michigan                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 30.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT DOEHL, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                               
Office of the Commissioner/Adjutant General                                                                                     
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER)                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HJR 30.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:04:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BOB HERRON  called the House Special  Committee on Military                                                             
and   Veterans'   Affairs  meeting   to   order   at  3:04   p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Hughes, Lynn,  Colver, LeDoux,  Spohnholz, Tuck,                                                               
and Herron were present at the call to order.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
              HJR 30-POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS INJURY                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:05:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT  RESOLUTION NO. 30,  Urging the  American Psychiatric                                                               
Association to  change the term "post-traumatic  stress disorder"                                                               
or  "PTSD"  to  "post-traumatic  stress injury"  or  "PTSI";  and                                                               
urging the governor to support  usage of the term "post-traumatic                                                               
stress injury."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)   for  HJR  30,  Version   29-LS1483\E,  Shutts,                                                               
3/15/16, as a work draft.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:06:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROB  EARL,   Staff,  Representative  Bob  Herron,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  explained the  changes to  HJR 30  in the  proposed                                                               
committee substitute  (CS) by referring to  the document labeled,                                                               
"Explanation of Changes  from HJR 30 ver 'W' to  HJR 30 ver 'E',"                                                               
included  in   the  committee  packet,  which   read  as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     P.1, lines 3-6                                                                                                             
     INSERTED:  "respectfully  requesting  that  the  Alaska                                                                    
     delegation   in  Congress   champion  this   change  of                                                                    
     designation   in  the   United  States   Congress;  and                                                                    
     designating  June 27,  2016,  as Post-Traumatic  Stress                                                                    
     Injury Awareness Day."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     P. 2 lines 2-8                                                                                                             
     INSERTED:                                                                                                                  
     "WHEREAS   combat-related   post-traumatic  stress   is                                                                  
     significantly  pronounced,  given  that  many  men  and                                                                    
     women  in the  armed forces  are highly  exposed, often                                                                    
     daily,  to traumatic  events, including  life-and-death                                                                    
     situations, for weeks, months, and even years; and                                                                         
     WHEREAS  service members  and  veterans often  struggle                                                                  
     with  combat-related  posttraumatic  stress  for  years                                                                    
     after leaving service; and                                                                                                 
     WHEREAS  the  extreme  survival  skills  and  defensive                                                                  
     behaviors  acquired as  a result  of service  are often                                                                    
     difficult to manage; and"                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     P.3, line 26 to P.4 line 6                                                                                                 
     INSERTED:                                                                                                                  
     "FURTHER  RESOLVED that  the  Alaska State  Legislature                                                                  
     respectfully  requests that  the  Alaska delegation  in                                                                    
     Congress  champion this  change of  designation in  the                                                                    
     United States Congress, and be it                                                                                          
     FURTHER  RESOLVED  that  the Alaska  State  Legislature                                                                  
     designates  June  27,  2016, as  Post-Traumatic  Stress                                                                    
     Injury Awareness  Day to bring awareness  to the people                                                                    
     suffering   from  post-traumatic   stress  injury   and                                                                    
     encourages  people   to  reach  out  to   their  fellow                                                                    
     citizens to  provide support  and eliminate  the stigma                                                                    
     associated with this injury; and be it                                                                                     
     FURTHER  RESOLVED  that  the Alaska  State  Legislature                                                                  
     encourages  the Department  of  Military and  Veterans'                                                                    
     Affairs  and  the  Department   of  Health  and  Social                                                                    
     Services  to  continue  educating service  members  and                                                                    
     veterans,   victims  of   abuse,  crime,   and  natural                                                                    
     disaster,  their respective  families,  and the  public                                                                    
     about the  causes, symptoms, and possible  treatment of                                                                    
     post-traumatic stress injury."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:07:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EARL   presented  Conceptual  Amendment  1,   on  behalf  of                                                               
Representative Herron,  stating that  on page 2,  line 3,  of HJR                                                               
30, it would insert the word "many" before "men and women".                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[Conceptual Amendment 1 was treated as moved.]                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HERRON asked  if there  was any  objection.   He announced                                                               
that  there  being  no  objection,  Conceptual  Amendment  1  was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:08:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  [moved to  adopt Conceptual  Amendment 2],                                                               
which  would   add  the  president  of   the  Alaska  Psychiatric                                                               
Association to the list of people,  on page 4, to which copies of                                                               
the  resolution  would  be  sent.    There  being  no  objection,                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. EARL offered that the  American Psychiatric Association (APA)                                                               
was  listed  because  only that  organization  could  change  the                                                               
designation [of  PTSD].  He  said the  president of APA  could be                                                               
added as well.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES  offered  that  the name  of  the  current                                                               
president of APA is Joshua Sonkiss, M.D.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:11:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KENT  HALL, Vice  President, Honor  for  ALL, said  that he  gave                                                               
testimony on HJR 30 at the  previous hearing and is available for                                                               
questions.    He alluded  to  the  previous House  State  Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee meeting in which  Chair Herron related hearing                                                               
negative comments from  a member of the Veterans  of Foreign Wars                                                               
(VFW) [regarding PTSD  terminology change].  He  conceded that he                                                               
has experienced  that viewpoint but  maintained that it  is rare.                                                               
He reiterated the need for further education and awareness.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:12:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS  MAHANEY,  President/Executive  Director, Honor  for  ALL,                                                               
stated that he was the founder of  Honor for ALL.  He opined that                                                               
the results  of the hearing  in Alaska's House  Special Committee                                                               
on Military and Veterans' Affairs  "can have far-reaching effects                                                               
on the  lives and  families of  past and  present members  of our                                                               
Armed Services, and in the end  the fight against stigma is a war                                                               
against words, and  the more voices we can muster  the larger our                                                               
arsenal."   He went  on to  say that  "the establishment  of PTSI                                                               
awareness day  is the first  step in creating a  springboard from                                                               
which   to   launch   community   events   in   recognition   and                                                               
understanding of invisible wounds."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:15:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON closed public testimony on HJR 30.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN referred  to Mr.  Mahaney's suggestion  that                                                               
the  negative  testimony  suggests  a need  for  more  education.                                                               
Representative Lynn opined  that a different opinion  on an issue                                                               
doesn't  necessarily  mean  more  education  is  needed  or  that                                                               
someone with an opposing opinion is uneducated.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:16:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ recommended  revisions [in  two WHEREAS                                                               
sections, beginning  on page  2, lines  6 and  11, respectively].                                                               
She [moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment 3], as follows:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 7, following "affected":                                                                                      
          Insert "who"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 7, following "voluntarily":                                                                                   
          Delete "to"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 12, following "serving":                                                                                      
          Delete "to defend the right to freedom"                                                                               
          Insert "our country"                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. EARL suggested that the  word "nation" be substituted for the                                                               
word "country" in the proposed amendment.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:19:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES expressed her desire  to keep "the right to                                                               
freedom" in the language being  addressed in Conceptual Amendment                                                               
3.   She suggested that  the language  beginning on page  3, line                                                               
12,  read:   "and  those  who have  received  those wounds  while                                                               
serving  our  nation, defending  the  right  to freedom,  deserve                                                               
respect and special honor".                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:21:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  suggested the following  language instead:                                                               
"while  serving our  nation and  defending the  right to  freedom                                                               
deserve respect and special honor".                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:21:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 3:22 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:22:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON  [moved Amendment  1 to  Conceptual Amendment  3] so                                                               
that  the WHEREAS  section  on page  3, line  11,  would read  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     WHEREAS  all citizens  who  suffer from  post-traumatic                                                                  
     stress injury  deserve recognition, and those  who have                                                                    
     received  those wounds  while  serving  our nation  and                                                                    
     defending  our  freedom  deserve  respect  and  special                                                                    
     honor; and                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[Amendment 1 to Conceptual Amendment 3 was treated as adopted.]                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HERRON  announced  there being  no  objection,  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 3, [as amended], was adopted.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:25:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  referred to two articles  in the committee                                                               
packet written  by two  prominent psychiatrists  representing two                                                               
different views on the matter  of using the terminology "PTSI" in                                                               
lieu  of "PTSD."    She further  noted that  the  idea for  using                                                               
"PTSI" came from a general who served in Iraq.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:26:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  asserted  that   PTSI  or  PTSD  definitely                                                               
exists, but  he offered his view  that the condition can  be used                                                               
by veterans as an excuse for bad behavior as well.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:27:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX referenced  the article  in the  committee                                                               
packet  titled,  "PTSD is  'PTSD',"  by  Matthew Friedman,  M.D.,                                                               
Ph.D., and  noted Dr. Friedman's suggestion  that the terminology                                                               
for the  condition could  be left  as is,  "PTSD," or  changed in                                                               
favor of  the Canadian term,  "operational stress  injury (OSI)."                                                               
She  opined  that  another  issue  mentioned  in  Dr.  Friedman's                                                               
article was of  greater concern than terminology -  the fact that                                                               
those  with OSI  in Canada  are eligible  for Canada's  sacrifice                                                               
metal, equivalent  to America's  Purple Heart,  whereas Americans                                                               
with  war-related  PTSD  are  not   eligible  for  the  honorable                                                               
recognition of a Purple Heart.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  stated that the  term "PTSD" was  created in                                                               
1980, and  before 1980 there was  no term for the  condition.  He                                                               
pointed out that  establishing the term "PTSD"  lead to research,                                                               
insurance coverage,  and treatment.   He  conceded that  the term                                                               
discourages  many  people  from  seeking  help  and  getting  the                                                               
services they  deserve.   Representative Tuck  said that  when an                                                               
injury is  earned in battle,  the injured individual  is eligible                                                               
for a Purple  Heart; however, because PTSD is not  looked upon as                                                               
an injury, it does not qualify for a Purple Heart.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:30:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  pointed out that there  are other conditions                                                               
defined by  the APA that  don't have  the word "disorder"  in the                                                               
name, and  without that  stigma, sufferers are  more apt  to seek                                                               
services.  Representative  Tuck stated that former  Vice Chief of                                                               
Staff  of  the  U.S.  Army,  General  Peter  Chiarelli,  strongly                                                               
advocated for getting rid of  the word "disorder" in PTSD because                                                               
he believed the  term "disorder" perpetuates a  bias and connotes                                                               
a preexisting problem that the  individual had before he/she came                                                               
into the army,  which makes a person seem weak.   He reminded the                                                               
committee members that PTSD doesn't  just affect the military but                                                               
anyone  who  has  been traumatized,  and  he  mentioned  "adverse                                                               
childhood experience"  as an example.   He emphasized  that those                                                               
in military service have greater  exposure to trauma, and he went                                                               
on  to make  the point  that with  the many  physical and  mental                                                               
exams  required for  entering military  service,  it is  apparent                                                               
that  military service  personnel  have a  clean  bill of  health                                                               
going into the service.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:32:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  reiterated Dr. Friedman's  contention that                                                               
PTSD should be  called OSI.  She asked if  designating PTSD as an                                                               
injury  would  make  the  condition  eligible  for  Purple  Heart                                                               
recognition or,  if not, what needed  to be done to  qualify PTSD                                                               
for Purple Heart recognition.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:33:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT    DOEHL,    Deputy    Commissioner,   Office    of    the                                                               
Commissioner/Adjutant   General,   Department   of   Military   &                                                               
Veterans'   Affairs  (DMVA),   Joint  Base   Elmendorf-Richardson                                                               
(JBER),  testified that  regardless of  the change  in definition                                                               
[of  post-traumatic stress],  changing  the  criteria for  Purple                                                               
Heart  recognition  requires   regulatory  or  statutory  changes                                                               
within the different service branches.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON  brought up various  issues related to  the awarding                                                               
of a Purple Heart - friendly  fire vs. enemy fire, concussion and                                                               
traumatic brain  injury (TBI), invisible wounds  - and reiterated                                                               
the importance  of raising  awareness.   He related  an incidence                                                               
during  World War  I in  which Great  Britain executed  about 300                                                               
soldiers  for  cowardice  but  changed  the  designation  of  the                                                               
soldiers  from  cowards  to  heroes  about  90  years  later  and                                                               
apologized to the families.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:36:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  said that she understands  Colonel Doehl's                                                               
testimony  to say  that unless  the injury  is visible,  a Purple                                                               
Heart  is not  awarded to  military service  personnel, and  even                                                               
changing "PTSD" to "PTSI" would not change that eligibility.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL DOEHL  stated that she  was correct, and that  the change                                                               
requires  a regulatory  change made  independently of  the action                                                               
before the  House State Affairs  Standing Committee.   He opined,                                                               
however,   that   increased   awareness   could   contribute   to                                                               
encouraging that change to be made in the future.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  reiterated  that America's  criteria  for                                                               
awarding a sacrifice  medal, the Purple Heart, is  in contrast to                                                               
Canada's criteria for awarding a sacrifice medal.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN reminded the  committee that the criteria for                                                               
awarding a  Purple Heart  is under  federal jurisdiction,  and he                                                               
stated he was uncomfortable pursuing this at the state level.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:39:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON  claimed that  a Purple  Heart may  be awarded  to a                                                               
service  member for  PTSD  received during  combat  if caused  by                                                               
enemy fire but  not if caused by friendly fire.   He relayed that                                                               
men and  women who  served in the  Vietnam War  often experienced                                                               
constant  noise  and vibration  causing  concussive  injury.   He                                                               
further  offered   that  invisible  injuries  have   presented  a                                                               
challenge  for individuals  and  society, but  the relabeling  of                                                               
PTSD to  a treatable injury has  made a difference to  those with                                                               
that diagnosis.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  stated that he  was not opposed  to renaming                                                               
PTSD  an injury  but  didn't  want to  pursue  the  issue of  the                                                               
awarding of a Purple Heart.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON confirmed  that the issue of a Purple  Heart was not                                                               
in the proposed joint resolution.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:42:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked  for  clarification  regarding  the                                                               
awarding of a Purple Heart for PTSD.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL DOEHL stated  his understanding that a  TBI from repeated                                                               
concussions  or   repeated  exposures  to   improvised  explosive                                                               
devices  (IED) creates  a  physiological  change and  constitutes                                                               
eligibility for a Purple Heart.  He  said that he is not aware of                                                               
a  Purple  Heart being  awarded  solely  for  PTSD or  not  being                                                               
awarded because of the absence of enemy fire.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON  said that  he would  provide the  committee members                                                               
the official criteria for receiving a Purple Heart.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:44:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[The previous  objection made by  Representative Colver  to adopt                                                               
the  proposed  CS  for  HJR   30,  Version  29-LS1483\E,  Shutts,                                                               
3/15/16, was treated as withdrawn.]                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  moved to  report  CSHJR  30, Version  29-                                                               
LS1483\E,  Shutts, 3/15/16,  as  amended, out  of committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection,  CSHJR 30(MLV)  was reported  from the                                                               
House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:44:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was                                                                 
adjourned at 3:45 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects