Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

01/31/2017 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
01:06:42 PM Start
01:07:32 PM HB2
01:25:39 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 2 PRIV EMPLOYER VOLUNTARY VET PREFERENCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 2(MLV) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
     HOUSE MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS SPECIAL COMMITTEE                                                                   
                        January 31, 2017                                                                                        
                           1:06 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Chris Tuck, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair                                                                                     
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Dan Saddler                                                                                                      
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 2                                                                                                                
"An Act relating to a voluntary preference for veterans by                                                                      
private employers."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 2(MLV) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 2                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: PRIV EMPLOYER VOLUNTARY VET PREFERENCE                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TUCK                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
01/18/17       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/9/17                                                                                
01/18/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/17       (H)       MLV, L&C                                                                                               
01/24/17       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
01/24/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/24/17       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
01/31/17       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN, Director of Veterans Affairs                                                                                      
Office of Veteran Affairs                                                                                                       
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions about HB 2.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:06:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CHRIS TUCK called the  House Military and Veterans' Affairs                                                             
Special Committee meeting to order  at 1:06 p.m.  Representatives                                                               
Parish,  Rauscher, Saddler,  Reinbold, and  Tuck were  present at                                                               
the call to order.   Representative LeDoux arrived as the meeting                                                               
was in progress.  Representative Stutes was also in attendance.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          HB 2-PRIV EMPLOYER VOLUNTARY VET PREFERENCE                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:07:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  announced that  the only order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 2, "An Act  relating to a voluntary preference for                                                               
veterans by private employers."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  reviewed that  HB 2 would  extend a  veteran employer                                                               
preference opportunity to private  employers, which is already in                                                               
place for  public employers.   The bill uses the  exemption under                                                               
the Civil Rights Act.  It is  not a mandate, but would provide an                                                               
option for employers wishing to extend this preference.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:08:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  moved to adopt Amendment  1, labeled 30-                                                               
LS0071\A.3, Martin, 1/27/17, which read as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "honorably discharged"                                                                                         
         Insert "discharged under honorable conditions"                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 2:                                                                                                            
          Delete "honorably discharged"                                                                                         
         Insert "discharged under honorable conditions"                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:09:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER described  that  Amendment  1 would  add                                                               
"discharged  under  honorable   conditions",  which  would  cover                                                               
general discharge.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:09:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked if the amendment  concords with the                                                               
sponsor's goal.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK, as sponsor of HB 2,  answered that it does.  He added                                                               
that  he just  wanted to  ensure it  didn't include  dishonorable                                                               
discharges.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  stated  that in  the  statute  regarding                                                               
veteran  preference for  public employees,  the condition  states                                                               
"other  than  dishonorable".    He   asked  if  the  sponsor  was                                                               
comfortable with the difference.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK stated that he is okay with that.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:10:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN,  Director  of Veterans  Affairs, Office  of Veteran                                                               
Affairs,  Department  of  Military &  Veterans'  Affairs  (DMVA),                                                               
responded  to  Representative  Saddler's  question,  stating  the                                                               
language in  Amendment 1 covers  all the benefits offered  by the                                                               
U.S.  Department of  Veterans Affairs  (VA)  through general  and                                                               
honorable discharge.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked Mr.  Bowen if he  is okay  with the                                                               
slight differing definitions of  discharge for public and private                                                               
employees.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN answered yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:12:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 1:12 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:12:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TUCK  removed  his  objection   to  the  motion  to  adopt                                                               
Amendment 1.   There being no further objection,  Amendment 1 was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:12:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH moved to adopt Amendment 2, labeled 30-                                                                   
LS0071\A.4, Wayne, 1/30/17, which read as follows:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 1, following "for":                                                                                         
          Insert "members of the national guard and"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 5, following "a":                                                                                             
          Insert "member of the national guard or a"                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 6, following "subsection,":                                                                                   
          Insert "(1) "member of the national guard" means                                                                      
         a person presently serving as a member in good                                                                         
     standing in the national guard;                                                                                            
               (2)"                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 7:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(1)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(A)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 8:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(2)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(B)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 9:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(3)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(C)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 10:                                                                                                           
          Delete "(4)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(D)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 11:                                                                                                           
          Delete "(5)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(E)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 12:                                                                                                           
          Delete "(6)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(F)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 14, following "of":                                                                                         
          Insert "Members of the National Guard and"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 15:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Veteran"                                                                                                    
          Insert "National guard member and veteran"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Following "a":                                                                                                        
          Insert "member of the national guard or a"                                                                            
          Following "section,":                                                                                                 
          Insert "(1) "member of the national guard" means                                                                      
         a person presently serving as a member in good                                                                         
     standing in the national guard;                                                                                            
               (2)"                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(1)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(A)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 4:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(2)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(B)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 5:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(3)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(C)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(4)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(D)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 7:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(5)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(E)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 8:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(6)"                                                                                                          
          Insert "(F)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, following line 8:                                                                                                  
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
        "* Sec. 3. AS 39.25.159(f)(3) is amended to read:                                                                   
               (3)  "member of the national guard" means a                                                                      
     person who                                                                                                                 
               (A) is presently serving as a member in good                                                             
     standing in [OF] the national guard; or                                                                            
               (B) was released from service in the                                                                         
       national guard under honorable conditions [ALASKA                                                                    
       NATIONAL GUARD AND WHO HAS AT LEAST EIGHT YEARS OF                                                                       
     SERVICE IN THE ALASKA NATIONAL GUARD];"                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:13:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH stated that Amendment  2 is a suggestion of                                                               
DMVA and would  extend the private employee  preference option to                                                               
include  active duty  National Guard  and  remove the  eight-year                                                               
service  requirement  for  the  National  Guard  for  the  public                                                               
employee preference  currently in  statute.   He stated  that the                                                               
changes  would  ensure  that  Alaskan  hiring  pools  would  have                                                               
important  individuals already  trained by  the government  to be                                                               
focused, flexible, and results oriented.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:14:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked  if Mr. Bowen thinks  Amendment 2 is                                                               
good policy.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:14:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK objected to the motion to adopt Amendment 2.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:14:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOWEN stated  his  belief that  this is  a  great change  to                                                               
statute to bring equity to National Guard members.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked what  percentage of Alaskan National                                                               
Guard  or Air  Force  members  is in  the  first  eight years  of                                                               
service.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN responded that about 30  percent of the force is in its                                                               
first enlistment.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked for  clarification as to  whether a                                                               
first enlistment is no more than five years.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN stated that the first enlistment is six years.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:15:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked if,  under current  statute, someone                                                               
who transferred  to the Alaska  National Guard with six  years of                                                               
previous  service in  a  different state  would  qualify for  the                                                               
preference.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN stated that [current  statute] does not stipulate which                                                               
state the  National Guard  member serves  in for  the preference.                                                               
He  stated  that  the aforementioned  eight-year  requirement  is                                                               
applicable to all guardsmen.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  opined it  is  in  the best  interest  of                                                               
Alaska  to  broaden  the  language  to be  more  inclusive.    He                                                               
referred to  AS 39.25.159(f)(3),  which gives  a definition  of a                                                               
member of the National Guard as follows:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     (3) "member of  the national guard" means  a person who                                                                    
     is  presently  serving  as  a   member  of  the  Alaska                                                                    
     National  Guard and  who has  at least  eight years  of                                                                    
     service in the Alaska National Guard;                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  clarified that under Amendment  2, "Alaska                                                               
National Guard" would be deleted.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOWEN confirmed  that  is  correct.   The  way [statute]  is                                                               
presently written is discriminatory.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:18:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TUCK   highlighted  the  aforementioned  language   of  AS                                                               
39.25.159(f)(3).                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:18:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  if  the  amendment eliminates  the                                                               
eight-year  requirement,  and if  there  is  any other  place  in                                                               
statute that lists where the eight-year requirement.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  observed that Amendment  2 would not only  remove the                                                               
language  regarding the  eight-year requirement,  but also  would                                                               
add language regarding release under honorable conditions.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    SADDLER   stated    the   proposed    amendment                                                               
accomplishes the goal, and he  believes the language in Amendment                                                               
2 is a good compromise.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:20:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TUCK  removed  his  objection   to  the  motion  to  adopt                                                               
Amendment 2.   There being no further objection,  Amendment 2 was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER  opined   that  the   bill  is   a  good                                                               
opportunity  for private  employers  who want  to  "do the  right                                                               
thing  by  our  veterans"  to  do  so  without  an  equal  rights                                                               
challenge.   He  stated his  belief that  veterans deserve  extra                                                               
consideration due to their service  on behalf of the country, and                                                               
that it is  good to be able to offer  them extra consideration in                                                               
the private sector.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:21:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TUCK  stated  his  belief  that  the  bill  will  help  in                                                               
recruitment for the National Guard,  as it eliminates a hesitancy                                                               
of balancing private employment with National Guard service.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:21:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  moved to report  HB 2, as amended,  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.   There being  no objection, CSHB 2(MLV)  was moved                                                               
from House Military and Veterans' Affairs Special Committee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:22:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:22 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:25:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Military  and Veterans'  Affairs  Special  Committee meeting  was                                                               
adjourned at 1:25 p.m.                                                                                                          

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