Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

03/12/2019 02:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
02:05:14 PM Start
02:05:57 PM HB71
02:25:07 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
*+ HB 71 STATE PERSONNEL ACT: VETERANS' EXPERIENCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
   HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                  
                         March 12, 2019                                                                                         
                           2:05 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Chair                                                                                          
Representative Chris Tuck, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Sharon Jackson                                                                                                   
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 71                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to hiring for positions in state service based                                                                 
on substitution of military work experience or training for                                                                     
required civilian work experience or training."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 71                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: STATE PERSONNEL ACT: VETERANS' EXPERIENCE                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STORY                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
02/25/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/25/19       (H)       MLV, STA                                                                                               
03/12/19       (H)       MLV AT 2:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDI STORY                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 71 as the sponsor of the bill.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
GREG SMITH, Staff                                                                                                               
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Answered questions  on HB  71 on behalf  of                                                            
the bill sponsor, Representative Story.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
PAM DAY, Manager                                                                                                                
Classification Services                                                                                                         
Division of Personnel and Labor Relations                                                                                       
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered questions  during discussion  of HB                                                            
71.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:05:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GABRIELLE  LEDOUX called  the  House Special  Committee  on                                                            
Military  and Veterans'  Affairs  meeting to  order  at 2:05  p.m.                                                              
Representatives  LeDoux, Rauscher,  Jackson,  Thompson, Kopp,  and                                                              
Tuck  were present  at the  call  to order.   Representative  Tarr                                                              
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
        HB 71-STATE PERSONNEL ACT: VETERANS' EXPERIENCE                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:05:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  announced that the  only order of business  would be                                                              
HOUSE BILL  NO. 71, "An  Act relating to  hiring for  positions in                                                              
state service  based on substitution  of military  work experience                                                              
or training for required civilian work experience or training."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:07:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDI  STORY, Alaska State Legislature,  paraphrased                                                              
from a  Sponsor Statement  [Included in  members' packets],  which                                                              
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Members  of the military  bravely serve  our nation  and                                                                   
     protect  our  nation's  values  around  the  world.  The                                                                   
     rigors  of  the  battlefield  can be  immense,  yet  the                                                                   
     transition  back to  civilian  life often  proves to  be                                                                   
     another  battle.   In  a  2012  survey,   two-thirds  of                                                                   
     veterans named  finding a job as the  greatest challenge                                                                   
     in transition from military to civilian life.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     House  Bill [71]  attempts  to ease  this transition  by                                                                   
     allowing  veterans, former prisoners  of war or  members                                                                   
     of   the  national   guard   to  substitute   documented                                                                   
     military     experience     for    published     minimum                                                                   
     qualifications    for   state   classified    positions.                                                                   
     Numerous  states,  including  Alaska,  provide  veterans                                                                   
     hiring benefits  and employment preferences;  House Bill                                                                   
     [71] would  provide additional  support to our  veterans                                                                   
     by allowing  their previous military work  experience to                                                                   
     carry over into the civilian world.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Allowing the  use of military  experience for  state job                                                                   
     qualifications   is   currently  allowed   in   Alaska's                                                                   
     personnel  policy. House Bill  [71] would enshrine  this                                                                   
     current  practice  into  law, ensuring  those  who  have                                                                   
     sacrificed  for our  nation will have  better access  to                                                                   
     employment irrespective of changes in administrations.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I  appreciate  your consideration  of  this  legislation                                                                   
     and ask for your support in its passage.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  shared her background serving  on the school                                                              
board,   noting  that,   although  policies   could  change   from                                                              
administration  to  administration,  statutes  remained  in  place                                                              
through these transitions.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON  asked   for  clarification  whether  the                                                              
discussion was for  proposed bill HB 71, as the  sponsor statement                                                              
referenced HB 76 and HB 165.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:09:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GREG  SMITH,  Staff,  Representative   Andi  Story,  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,    in    response   to    Representative    Thompson,                                                              
acknowledged that  an incorrect  version of the sponsor  statement                                                              
had been  sent to  committee members,  and he  offered his  belief                                                              
that a  correct version had  since been  sent.  He  clarified that                                                              
the discussion was for proposed HB 71.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:10:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON  referenced   previous  legislation  that                                                              
military experience  and professional certifications  were carried                                                              
over to  civilian positions.   He pointed  out that this  had also                                                              
included certification  for military  spouses.   He asked  how the                                                              
proposed bill related to this previous legislation.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:11:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMITH  explained that the  previous legislation  covered other                                                              
benefits and  preferences by the  state to veterans  in transition                                                              
to civilian life.   He stated that the proposed  bill was "another                                                              
tool" to help with veterans' employment.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:11:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON  asked if there was a  specified time frame                                                              
for a transfer of credits.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SMITH  offered  his  belief  that  experience  gained  during                                                              
internships, volunteerism,  and work allowed an applicant  to meet                                                              
minimum qualifications.    He offered his  understanding  that the                                                              
hiring policy  allowed "a bit of  back and forth" to  an applicant                                                              
for the relevancy of experience, and not to a time period.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON, offering  an example  of a  quartermaster                                                              
in military service,  asked whether this experience  would include                                                              
older military personnel and would not have a time limit.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMITH offered his understanding that this was correct.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:14:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAM DAY, Manager,  Classification Services, Division  of Personnel                                                              
and Labor Relations,  Department of Administration,  expressed her                                                              
agreement that  this was correct  that "it doesn't matter  how old                                                              
the experience  is, we still will  qualify and look at  it.  We're                                                              
mainly looking  for the  relevance of  the experience  towards the                                                              
minimum qualifications of the job."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON asked  if this  included state  government                                                              
positions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[MS. DAY indicated her agreement.]                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:15:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   RAUSCHER  referenced   the  supporting   document                                                              
[Included  in members' packets]  from the  National Conference  of                                                              
State Legislatures,  dated October 18,  2013, and asked  about the                                                              
point system and  the matriculation of points toward  education in                                                              
other states.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. DAY replied that she was not familiar with this system.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked if the State of Alaska  had a point                                                              
system for veterans' preference.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. DAY asked if he was referencing veterans' preference.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   RAUSCHER  said   that  he   was  "talking   about                                                              
preference anywhere  in the State of  Alaska.  I'm sure  there's a                                                              
point system  if you're filling  out an application,  depending on                                                              
what  type of  category  you fall  into,  may  determine how  many                                                              
points advantage you  have at a particular job."   He asked for an                                                              
explanation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:16:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  explained that  Alaska statute did  allow for                                                              
a veterans' preference,  opining that 10 points, or  10 percent of                                                              
total  allowable   points  on  an  application,   were  given  for                                                              
disabled veterans.   He offered his  belief that there  was also a                                                              
5 percent  veterans' preference.   He stated that Alaska  had long                                                              
supported veterans'  preference in many  job classes, and  that it                                                              
was dependent on the class of disability.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:17:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX asked  if the proposed bill had been  introduced in a                                                              
previous legislature.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  offered a  history  of the  proposed  bill.                                                              
She  reported that  the representative  from her  district in  the                                                              
previous  legislature had  introduced this  bill and, although  it                                                              
had passed  unanimously in  the House, it  was not passed  through                                                              
the  Senate.     The  prior   representative  had  asked   her  to                                                              
"champion"  the bill  and bring  it  "through to  fruition."   She                                                              
expressed her agreement to the importance of the proposed bill.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  expressed her agreement  that the proposed  bill had                                                              
seemed "so familiar."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:19:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  stated that all  veterans' issues were  a "no                                                              
brainer."   He directed  attention to  the "Education  Credits for                                                              
Military  Training"   handout  [Included  in   members'  packets],                                                              
noting that  it had taken three  legislatures before House  Bill 2                                                              
was passed, even  though it was sent to the Senate  each year.  He                                                              
questioned why  the veterans' hiring  preference was  mandated for                                                              
state employees but not required for private employers.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:20:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:20:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX closed public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:21:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY expressed her  appreciation to  the veterans                                                              
and  their service  to the  State  of Alaska,  and she  emphasized                                                              
that Alaska  should, in  statute, give  them preference  for their                                                              
military service.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:21:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  acknowledged   that  there  had  been  prior                                                              
legislation concerning  the application  of military  training for                                                              
college  degrees and  apprenticeship  programs.   He  acknowledged                                                              
the difficulty for  implementation of this "to  the fullest extent                                                              
possible."   He offered  his belief  that there  had been  earlier                                                              
proposed  legislation which  had  insured that  the Department  of                                                              
Commerce,  Community &  Economic Development  would transition  to                                                              
make the  law effective  for previous  experience to be  credited.                                                              
He  asked that  the committee  continue  to  push for  the use  of                                                              
veterans' experience in job applications.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:23:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP added that  this was  a piece of  legislation                                                              
to protect military  families as many spouses were  both veterans.                                                              
When  one spouse  retired,  while  the  other remained  in  active                                                              
military,  the   civilian  spouse  would  often   have  difficulty                                                              
finding a  job as  their work  experience was  just military.   He                                                              
noted  that this  could  put a  strain on  the  relationship.   He                                                              
declared that the proposed bill would help military families.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:24:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON  offered her appreciation for  the proposed                                                              
bill  and  opined  that  it  would  "open  a  door  for  community                                                              
businesses to get involved and do more hiring, as well."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:24:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  said that proposed  HB 71  would be held  over until                                                              
the next  committee meeting on Thursday  [March 14] and  she asked                                                              
that any  proposed amendments be sent  to her office by  5:00 p.m.                                                              
tomorrow [Wednesday, March 13].                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:25:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was                                                                 
adjourned at 2:25 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB071 ver A 3.5.19.pdf HMLV 3/12/2019 2:00:00 PM
HB 71
HB071 Sponsor Statement v3 3.6.19.pdf HMLV 3/12/2019 2:00:00 PM
HB 71
HB071 Leg Research report military training 3.5.19.pdf HMLV 3/12/2019 2:00:00 PM
HB 71
HB071 NCSL veterans' state hiring preference 3.5.19.pdf HMLV 3/12/2019 2:00:00 PM
HB 71