Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

04/06/2017 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
01:03:12 PM Start
01:03:57 PM HB125
01:10:36 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 125 LAO/HMONG VETERAN DRIVER'S LIC. & ID CARD TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 125 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
   HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                  
                         April 6, 2017                                                                                          
                           1:03 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Chris Tuck, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative Dan Saddler                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 125                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to a veteran's designation on an identification                                                                
card or a driver's license for Hmong veterans and Lao veterans."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 125 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 125                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LAO/HMONG VETERAN DRIVER'S LIC. & ID CARD                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
02/15/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/15/17       (H)       MLV, STA                                                                                               
04/04/17       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/04/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/04/17       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
04/06/17       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, answered questions                                                                     
regarding HB 125.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT DOEHL, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                               
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 125.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN, Director of Veterans Affairs                                                                                      
Office of Veteran Affairs                                                                                                       
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 125.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:03:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CHRIS TUCK  called the House Special  Committee on Military                                                             
and   Veterans'   Affairs  meeting   to   order   at  1:03   p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Parish,   Rauscher,  Reinbold,  and   Tuck  were                                                               
present  at the  call to  order.   Representatives Spohnholz  and                                                               
Saddler arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
        HB 125-LAO/HMONG VETERAN DRIVER'S LIC. & ID CARD                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:03:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  announced that  the only order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  125, "An Act relating to  a veteran's designation                                                               
on  an  identification  card  or a  driver's  license  for  Hmong                                                               
veterans and Lao veterans."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  noted that Representative  Saddler's question  from a                                                               
previous hearing was answered by  Hillary Martin with Legislative                                                               
Legal  and  Research  Services,   who  stated  that  the  current                                                               
drafting is  correct:   the long version  of the  definition only                                                               
needs to be stated once in each section.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:04:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  how  many people  are  likely  to                                                               
qualify   for  a   Hmong  or   Lao  [veteran]   driver's  license                                                               
designation under HB 125.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:05:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor of HB  125, offered her understanding that  the answer is                                                               
about 40 individuals.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:05:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  stated that  his notes indicated  about 30                                                               
to 40.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:05:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  DOEHL,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Military  &                                                               
Veterans' Affairs  (DMVA), offered  the department's  estimate of                                                               
approximately 40.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:05:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked Verdie Bowen if  Hmong veterans are                                                               
included in the  count of veterans the Office  of Veteran Affairs                                                               
assists  and for  whom the  office facilitates  the provision  of                                                               
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:06:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN,  Director  of Veterans  Affairs, Office  of Veteran                                                               
Affairs,  Department  of  Military &  Veterans'  Affairs  (DMVA),                                                               
responded that  the way  the Office  of Veteran  Affairs accounts                                                               
for Hmong  veterans is through  events on May 15,  Hmong Memorial                                                               
Day.   He  stated  that  his office  does  not currently  provide                                                               
benefits  to Hmong  Veterans but  the office  does recognize  and                                                               
honor their service to the nation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  stated his  understanding that  a benefit                                                               
of the  veteran driver's license  designation is  the opportunity                                                               
to "contact veterans and ... sign  them up and increase our count                                                               
for federal  VA purposes."   He  recalled a  provision in  HB 125                                                               
that would  allow the Office  of Veteran Affairs to  make contact                                                               
with  the veterans.    He asked  if Hmong  and  Lao veterans  are                                                               
included  in the  current statewide  count of  veterans and  what                                                               
benefits the bill would bring to any qualifying individuals.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOWEN  stated  that  HB   125  reflects  [the  department's]                                                               
position of  honoring these  veterans.  He  stated that  the only                                                               
benefit the  Hmong veterans would  receive under HB 125  would be                                                               
discounts for their  veteran status at places  which provide such                                                               
a discount.   There would be  no VA benefits set  aside for these                                                               
veterans.   The  legislation would  bring recognition  that could                                                               
help establish  the ability  to allow  Hmong veterans  to receive                                                               
national recognition such as burial in national cemeteries.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:08:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  stated that  the  recognition  may be  more                                                               
symbolic than  material.   She remarked, "To  go into  Denny's on                                                               
the day  where they  provide the discount  for veterans,  for the                                                               
first time  ever in the United  States, they will walk  in and be                                                               
able to say to someone I'm a veteran who served this country."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:08:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK stated  that in such a circumstance,  the server might                                                               
be interested in learning more  and experiences and conversations                                                               
could be shared.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:09:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH commended  Representative Tarr for bringing                                                               
the legislation  forward.   He remarked, "We  have a  clear moral                                                               
obligation to  Hmong veterans,  and finally  we're taking  a step                                                               
towards honoring  it in  a way  that they've  requested.   So I'm                                                               
fully in support of this bill."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:09:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked if  the  bill  authorizes a  Hmong                                                               
veteran  to  receive  the same  veteran  designation  on  his/her                                                               
driver's license or ID card as any other veteran.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:09:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR answered yes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:10:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  moved to  report HB  125 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no  objection, HB  125 was moved  from House                                                               
Military and Veterans' Affairs Special Committee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:10:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was                                                                 
adjourned at 1:11 p.m.                                                                                                          

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