Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

02/05/2015 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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Moved CSHB 35(STA) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                        February 5, 2015                                                                                        
                           8:12 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Wes Keller, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Liz Vazquez                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 35                                                                                                               
"An Act establishing March 27 as Great Alaska Earthquake                                                                        
Remembrance Day."                                                                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 35(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
HOUSE BILL NO. 13                                                                                                               
"An  Act requiring  notice of  the  postage required  to mail  an                                                               
absentee  ballot on  the  envelope provided  by  the division  of                                                               
elections  for returning  an absentee  ballot; and  repealing the                                                               
authority to include  certain material from a  political party in                                                               
the election pamphlet."                                                                                                         
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 35                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: GREAT ALASKA EARTHQUAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) MILLETT                                                                                           
01/21/15       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/9/15                                                                                
01/21/15       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/15       (H)       STA                                                                                                    
02/05/15       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
BILL: HB 13                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: ELECTION PAMPHLETS AND ABSENTEE BALLOTS                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) LYNN, GARA                                                                                        
01/21/15       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/9/15                                                                                
01/21/15       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/15       (H)       STA                                                                                                    
02/05/15       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE CHARISSE MILLETT                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented HB 35.                                                                       
CHUCK VOLANTI                                                                                                                   
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Read his testimony in support of HB 35.                                                                  
RICHARD KOEHLER                                                                                                                 
Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS)                                                                             
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 35.                                                                   
ROBERT L. SCHER, PE, Chair                                                                                                      
Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission (ASHSC)                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 35.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As joint prime sponsor, presented HB 13.                                                                 
PAMELA GOODE                                                                                                                    
Delta Junction                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 13.                                                                   
GAIL FENUMIAI, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Elections                                                                                                           
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the hearing on HB                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:12:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BOB LYNN called the  House State Affairs Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at 8:12  a.m.  Representatives  Keller, Stutes,                                                               
Talerico,  Gruenberg, Kreiss-Tomkins,  and Lynn  were present  at                                                               
the call to order.                                                                                                              
8:12:27 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 8:12 a.m.                                                                                 
         HB 35-GREAT ALASKA EARTHQUAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY                                                                      
8:12:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the first order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO. 35,  "An  Act  establishing March  27  as Great  Alaska                                                               
Earthquake Remembrance Day."                                                                                                    
8:13:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CHARISSE MILLETT,  Alaska  State Legislature,  as                                                               
prime sponsor, presented HB 35,  which addresses the Great Alaska                                                               
Earthquake.   She stated that  the earthquake, which  occurred on                                                               
March  27,  1964,  leveled many  areas  of  Southcentral  Alaska,                                                               
decimated the  City of Valdez,  Alaska, resulted in  an estimated                                                               
$311 million in property damage, and  took 128 lives, 15 from the                                                               
earthquake and another 113 from the tsunami that followed.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   MILLETT  said   the  intent   of  the   proposed                                                               
legislation  is not  about remembering  the disaster  itself, but                                                               
highlights  the  brave efforts  of  people  during the  disaster,                                                               
including  first  responders  and entire  communities  that  came                                                               
together to  help.  She said  HB 35 would increase  awareness and                                                               
hold  March  27   as  a  day  of  remembrance;   it  would  allow                                                               
communities  to hold  awareness events  to pay  tribute to  those                                                               
lives that were lost.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  reminded everyone  that the  Great Alaska                                                               
Earthquake struck  at 5:36 p.m.,  lasted about three  minutes and                                                               
was a  magnitude 9.2 quake.   She  said Alaska averages  three to                                                               
four  [earthquakes] a  day; the  Aleutian Islands  are especially                                                               
active.   She  indicated that  those earthquakes  typically range                                                               
between  magnitude 1.5  and  5.4.   She noted  that  HB 35  would                                                               
remind people to be prepared for  such an event as the bill makes                                                               
mention of the need for  safer environments in which people live.                                                               
She  encouraged   committee  members  to  support   the  proposed                                                               
8:15:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN said  he thinks HB 35 would make  people aware of what                                                               
they  should be  doing to  be prepared  for an  earthquake, which                                                               
could happen at any moment.                                                                                                     
8:16:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CHUCK VOLANTI read his testimony in  support of HB 35.  He stated                                                               
that he is  a former Alaska Air National  Guard flight dispatcher                                                               
who  began "this  journey" because  of  his love  of Alaska,  its                                                               
people, his  mission with  the Alaska Air  National Guard,  and a                                                               
flight  crew that  was tragically  lost.   He  thanked the  prime                                                               
sponsor  for  bringing  HB  35   forward,  calling  the  proposed                                                               
legislation  "history-making"  and   "time-honored,"  because  it                                                               
finally would honor past generations  represented by thousands of                                                               
Alaskans  who gave  selfless sacrifice  by placing  others before                                                               
themselves.  He indicated that  today, history owes much to those                                                               
MR. VOLANTI said  last session the legislature paved  the way for                                                               
HB 35 by sponsoring House  Joint Resolution 23, proclaiming March                                                               
27, 2014,  as "Good Friday  Earthquake Remembrance Day"  to honor                                                               
the  fiftieth anniversary  of  the quake.    He recollected  that                                                               
during  a  House  State Affairs  Standing  Committee  hearing  on                                                               
January 28,  2014, it became apparent  there was a desire  for an                                                               
annual day of  recognition; however, it was  not legally possible                                                               
to set aside a day in  perpetuity under a resolution, as it would                                                               
require a bill.   He thanked the committee for  pursuing the plea                                                               
for permanent legislation.                                                                                                      
MR.  VOLANTI   continued  reading  his  testimony,   sharing  his                                                               
experience during the earthquake, as follows:                                                                                   
     On the evening of March 27,  1964, I was the Alaska Air                                                                    
     National Guard's flight  dispatcher coordinating flight                                                                    
     operations  at   Kulis  Air  National  Guard   Base  in                                                                    
     Anchorage.   We  were  a small  unit,  with ten  C123-J                                                                    
     aircraft and  enough flight  crews to  put them  in the                                                                    
     air  at any  given time.   The  Guard's mission  was to                                                                    
     mitigate civil emergencies whenever  and where ever the                                                                    
     mission took  us, and  very soon  we would  be severely                                                                    
     The magnitude  9.2 Good  Friday Earthquake  that struck                                                                    
     at 5:36  pm was the  largest ever in  recorded history.                                                                    
     It  cast  a  pall   of  death  and  destruction  across                                                                    
     thousands  of  square  miles  of  pristine  landscapes,                                                                    
     lasting  close to  four  minutes  where seconds  seemed                                                                    
     like hours.                                                                                                                
     I  have been  asked many  times to  describe what  that                                                                    
     experience was like.   ... Most of us know  what a bull                                                                    
     riding contest  looks like:  A  rider desperately doing                                                                    
     everything   possible  to   stay  the   required  eight                                                                    
     seconds,  as  he  sits   atop  this  massive,  jumping,                                                                    
     jolting, and twisting beast.   That is what it was like                                                                    
     and what I experienced,  along with countless thousands                                                                    
     of Alaskans,  as it lasted  not eight seconds,  but for                                                                    
     close to four minutes.                                                                                                     
8:18:43 AM                                                                                                                    
     When  it was  over, Governor  William Egan  immediately                                                                    
     activated all  Guard units.  Within  the hour, military                                                                    
     members  were converging  on Kulis  Air National  Guard                                                                    
     Base.   Without hesitation, we began  dispersing troops                                                                    
     into  neighboring  communities to  recover  casualties,                                                                    
     tend to those  who were suffering, free  those who were                                                                    
     trapped  in the  rubble of  their surroundings,  and to                                                                    
     ensure civil order.  Few  of us sat around a conference                                                                    
     table  planning.     As  pilots  and   co-pilots  began                                                                    
     arriving, they were  anxious to take to the  air to get                                                                    
     to   those    areas   and   people   most    in   need.                                                                    
     Communications  were difficult  and  darkness was  upon                                                                    
     us.     Through  the  night  we   gathered  what  vital                                                                    
     information  we  could   and  began  loading  supplies,                                                                    
     equipment, and  putting necessary personnel  on standby                                                                    
     as we awaited first light.   When dawn finally came, we                                                                    
     put our planes in the air.                                                                                                 
     During those days  our administrative flight operations                                                                    
     office  consisted   of  ...  a  flight   crew  of  four                                                                    
     personnel.  I am the  sole surviving member; the others                                                                    
     perished  three  weeks  later  during  a  quake-related                                                                    
     humanitarian  relief   mission.    That's   when  their                                                                    
     aircraft tragically  crashed on  takeoff from  the City                                                                    
     of Valdez.  Also lost in  this tragedy was the State of                                                                    
     Alaska's  first ever  appointed  Alaska National  Guard                                                                    
     Adjutant  General,  Major  General Thomas  P.  Carroll.                                                                    
     Because we  were a  small unit,  we operated  more like                                                                    
     close family  than a formal  military command.   Losing                                                                    
     these men  was like losing family;  they were selfless,                                                                    
     dedicated, and committed to duty - patriots all.                                                                           
     The scope of  this quake is legendary,  and nothing has                                                                    
     had  more impact  on Alaska  or its  people.   All were                                                                    
     forever changed.   Many towns were  destroyed - Valdez,                                                                    
     Seward, Portage, Girdwood, Chenega  Village - and those                                                                    
     towns   suffered   numerous  fatalities.      Anchorage                                                                    
     sustained     unimaginable     devastation.         The                                                                    
     infrastructure  was in  shambles;  the quake  destroyed                                                                    
     hundreds  of  dwellings   and  businesses  and  created                                                                    
     numerous landslides  throughout the  area.   A renowned                                                                    
     neighborhood,  "Turnagain by  the  Sea," was  decimated                                                                    
     when  several  residential  blocks collapsed  onto  the                                                                    
     mudflats  of Turnagain  Arm and  Cook Inlet.   So  much                                                                    
     more could  be said  but can be  seen elsewhere  in all                                                                    
     forms of written and electronic media.                                                                                     
8:20:56 AM                                                                                                                    
     In the  end, as devastating  and ravaging as  the quake                                                                    
     and tsunamis were,  ... [they were] not  the main focus                                                                    
     of  this event.   The  cornerstone is  and remains  the                                                                    
     Alaskan  people of  the day  and how  they all  rallied                                                                    
     together  without hesitation.    First responders  came                                                                    
     from all walks  of life, beginning with  your next door                                                                    
     neighbor,   firefighters,  police   officers,  [Alaska]                                                                    
     State Troopers, members of the  Army Corp of Engineers,                                                                    
     medics,  doctors, nurses,  municipal workers,  Army and                                                                    
     Air National Guard units, and  many others too numerous                                                                    
     to mention.   All these people displayed  a strong will                                                                    
     of resilience,  resolve, tenacity,  and self-sacrifice.                                                                    
     Like the Phoenix of old,  standing shoulder to shoulder                                                                    
     they arose  from the ashes  of death,  destruction, and                                                                    
     despair   to  rebuild   their  lives,   cities,  towns,                                                                    
     villages and  communities, so that all  those to follow                                                                    
     would have a better life.                                                                                                  
     And again, I  say history owes much to  these people of                                                                    
     yesteryear.   What a thriving  state of Alaska  and its                                                                    
     citizens  enjoy  today is  because  they  stand on  the                                                                    
     shoulders of those giants of  the past.  Their selfless                                                                    
     sacrifices paid  honor to the  future.  Now it's  up to                                                                    
     us to pay honor to those  of the past.  We should never                                                                    
     forget, never take for granted,  and always honor them.                                                                    
     HB 35  accomplishes that.   As a  former member  of the                                                                    
     Alaska  Air National  Guard, I  dedicate my  efforts to                                                                    
     the memory  of all  who perished, suffered  great loss,                                                                    
     and  to  those who  paid  the  ultimate sacrifice,  and                                                                    
     always remembering the families they left behind.                                                                          
8:22:22 AM                                                                                                                    
     In closing, I would ask  for one consideration that the                                                                    
     title of HB  35 be amended to read,  "Great Alaska Good                                                                    
     Friday Earthquake Remembrance Day."   Good Friday gives                                                                    
     recognition to the  actual day and holiday  on which it                                                                    
     occurred,   connects   the   title   to   the   initial                                                                    
     legislation HJR  23, entitled, "Good  Friday Earthquake                                                                    
     Remembrance Day," and finally,  across this great state                                                                    
     and nation, is meaningful to all people of faith.                                                                          
MR. VOLANTI  announced that on  March 27, at 5:36  p.m., annually                                                               
and in  perpetuity, church  bells would ring  across Alaska.   He                                                               
explained  that he  had spoken  with the  Catholic Archbishop  of                                                               
Alaska, Roger Schwietz, and the  [Russian] Orthodox Bishop, David                                                               
Mahaffey,  who committed  that their  over 200  combined churches                                                               
would  toll the  bells "to  honor those  we have  spoken of  here                                                               
today."  He  thanked the committee for hearing  his testimony and                                                               
offered to answer questions.                                                                                                    
8:23:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER thanked Mr. Volanti  for his service in the                                                               
Alaska  Air National  Guard,  and he  opined  that Mr.  Volanti's                                                               
suggestion  for changing  the name  of the  day was  a good  one,                                                               
because everyone remembers the earthquake by that name.                                                                         
8:23:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  asked Mr. Volanti  what the structural damage  was to                                                               
the  runways  at Kullis  Air  National  Guard Base  or  Anchorage                                                               
International Airport.                                                                                                          
MR. VOLANTI answered  that there were cracks and  crevices in the                                                               
tarmac but nothing  that prevented aircraft from taking  off.  He                                                               
added that some hangars were damaged  and a huge water tower came                                                               
out  of   the  ground  eight   feet.    He  said   the  Anchorage                                                               
International  Tower collapsed,  resulting  in the  death of  one                                                               
person and two people being trapped  in the rubble.  The National                                                               
Guard rescued  the two who were  trapped.  The loss  of the tower                                                               
interrupted all civilian incoming air  traffic.  He described the                                                               
scene as chaotic and said there  were no manuals written to guide                                                               
people through the ordeal, thus  everyone did what he/she thought                                                               
needed to be done at the time.                                                                                                  
MR. VOLANTI continued as follows:                                                                                               
     The  Army National  Guard was  getting off  duty, after                                                                    
     their two  weeks of training,  and some of  those folks                                                                    
     were Natives,  and I know  they were going back  to the                                                                    
     villages that  they came from,  and I saw the  faces of                                                                    
     them as  they returned  back into that  operation room,                                                                    
     knowing they  had to  go back to  duty and  not knowing                                                                    
     the fate of their own families.  But they did that.                                                                        
MR. VOLANTI said the National  Guard made "a massive coordination                                                               
effort" with many civilian entities.                                                                                            
8:27:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  remarked  that  evidence  of  the  earthquake  still                                                               
remains where the land fell in  Girdwood.  He related that he had                                                               
landed in  Alaska three days  after the earthquake  and underwent                                                               
Arctic training  at a  military base  and there  were significant                                                               
aftershocks at  that time.   He said  he saw the  Alaska National                                                               
Guard  guarding  buildings  from  looters  on  Fourth  Avenue  in                                                               
Anchorage.  He  remarked that the earthquake falls  into the same                                                               
category of other major events in life a person never forgets.                                                                  
8:29:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. VOLANTI  apologized if  his testimony  may have  rambled, but                                                               
explained that, to himself, the  recounting of the event is still                                                               
very emotional.                                                                                                                 
8:29:49 AM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD  KOEHLER, Division  of Geological  & Geophysical  Surveys                                                               
(DGGS), Department of Natural Resources  (DNR), testified that he                                                               
serves  as the  state  earthquake geologist  in  the Division  of                                                               
Geological  &  Geophysical  Surveys  (DGGS)  and  represents  the                                                               
governor on the Alaska Seismic  Hazard Safety Commission (ASHSC).                                                               
He  said the  proposed  legislation would  provide  the means  to                                                               
recognize the  1964 earthquake as  one of the most  powerful ever                                                               
recorded  in the  world,  as well  as to  recognize  its role  in                                                               
unifying Alaskans in the difficult time that followed the event.                                                                
MR. KOEHLER  said the earthquake  was associated  with tremendous                                                               
damage and  over 130 fatalities  related to ground  shaking, land                                                               
sliding,   tsunami,   and   other  hazards   distributed   across                                                               
Southcentral  Alaska.     He   echoed  Mr.   Volanti's  testimony                                                               
regarding  the landslides  that  affected  the Turnagain  Heights                                                               
neighborhood  in Anchorage,  and he  said there  was catastrophic                                                               
damage done in the Fourth Street  area downtown.  He said tsunami                                                               
waves  devastated  communities,  including  Valdez,  Seward,  and                                                               
Kodiak, with costly impacts to  fishing fleets and transportation                                                               
and supply chain infrastructure.                                                                                                
MR.  KOEHLER stated  that  in the  decades  following the  event,                                                               
Alaska communities adopted stringent  standards that exceeded the                                                               
Uniform Building  Code and rezoned the  tsunami inundation areas.                                                               
He  said human  disaster memory  is short-lived,  and appropriate                                                               
seismic hazard  mitigation measures are not  universally applied.                                                               
For  example, many  older schools  and other  important buildings                                                               
are  still not  adequately  designed to  withstand strong  ground                                                               
shaking.  He  said building permits have recently  been issued in                                                               
areas susceptible  to landslide.   Mr. Koehler said  although the                                                               
possibility of  a repeat of the  1964 event is not  likely in the                                                               
near future, a  magnitude 8 is entirely possible  anywhere in the                                                               
south part  of the state.   Further,  any other fault  lines that                                                               
are  "relatively  unsteadied"  are capable  of  causing  damaging                                                               
8:31:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. KOEHLER stated  that the 2002 Denali  fault earthquake, which                                                               
was a  magnitude 7.9,  as well  as the  2013 "event"  near Craig,                                                               
Alaska,  are  sobering  reminders  of the  potential  for  future                                                               
damaging events.                                                                                                                
8:32:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. KOEHLER  said last year,  during the 50th anniversary  of the                                                               
1964  earthquake, many  events were  designed to  increase public                                                               
awareness  and  preparedness   for  future  potentially  damaging                                                               
earthquakes.   He  said the  events helped  planners, developers,                                                               
and  the general  public build  a better  resilience to  Alaska's                                                               
seismic hazards.   He opined that  HB 35 would provide  an annual                                                               
reminder of  the state's exposure  to earthquakes  and facilitate                                                               
continued  earthquake  education and  awareness.    He said  this                                                               
reminder  would  ensure  continued  programs  and  events,  which                                                               
provide the  public with the  knowledge of  what to do  during an                                                               
earthquake; it would  help in the planning  of tsunami evacuation                                                               
routes  and  drills;  and  it  would  assist  in  the  design  of                                                               
infrastructure.  Mr. Koehler stated  that adoption of HB 35 would                                                               
lead to  safer communities,  a reduction in  the number  of lives                                                               
lost  during  earthquakes,  and   result  in  faster  social  and                                                               
economic  recovery   in  the  aftermath  of   a  future  damaging                                                               
8:33:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. KOEHLER,  regarding Mr. Volanti's recommendation  to amend HB                                                               
35 to  add the words "Good  Friday" to the name,  related that in                                                               
recent scientific  literature the event  has been referred  to as                                                               
"the 1964  Great Alaska Earthquake."   He  said that is  the most                                                               
common  name  currently;  however,  he said  he  understands  and                                                               
appreciates  that  the  Good  Friday name  is  embedded  in  many                                                               
people's minds.  Regarding the  ringing of bells, he related that                                                               
he was in  San Francisco for the one-hundred  year anniversary of                                                               
the Great  1906 Earthquake,  and all the  fire houses  rang their                                                               
bells very  early in  the morning, and  they ran  the horse-drawn                                                               
cars  down the  street.   He  said that  event  had an  emotional                                                               
impact on many  people.  He stated support for  the idea to sound                                                               
the bells.   He concluded by stating  he thinks HB 35  is a great                                                               
bill that raises awareness of earthquakes.                                                                                      
8:35:03 AM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  L.  SCHER,  PE,  Chair,  Alaska  Seismic  Hazards  Safety                                                               
Commission  (ASHSC), emphasized  his appreciation  in the  way in                                                               
which the sponsor  and Mr. Volanti captured  the significance and                                                               
effect of  the 1964 Great Alaska  Earthquake on Good Friday.   He                                                               
stated  that without  question,  that  earthquake and  subsequent                                                               
recovery effort represents one of  the defining moments in Alaska                                                               
statehood.   He  said  the significance  of  the earthquake  went                                                               
beyond the borders  of Alaska and time:  it  greatly affected the                                                               
science  of   geology  and  seismic  engineering,   in  terms  of                                                               
demonstrating the  massive potential  for destruction of  a great                                                               
subduction zone earthquake;  it helped to solidify  the theory of                                                               
plate tectonics;  and it effected the  engineering of structures,                                                               
land use planning,  and the idea of predicting  the potential for                                                               
ground shaking and failure when considering building codes.                                                                     
MR. SCHER stated  that the earthquake was an  important factor in                                                               
the  federal  adoption  of   the  National  Earthquake  Reduction                                                               
Program in  the early  '70s, which  led to  the formation  of the                                                               
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).   He said the lessons                                                               
provided  from that  earthquake  are still  applicable today  and                                                               
should be  remembered.  He said  that as Chair Lynn  pointed out,                                                               
Alaska is one of the most  seismically active places in the world                                                               
and  certainly  the  most  active  in  the  U.S.,  and  the  1964                                                               
earthquake is one of the strongest  recorded on earth.  He echoed                                                               
Mr. Koehler's remark  that Alaska may not  see another earthquake                                                               
of that magnitude "in our  lifetime," but pointed out that recent                                                               
earthquakes in  Christchurch, New Zealand, Italy,  and China have                                                               
illustrated the  destruction and devastation from  earthquakes of                                                               
magnitudes of  6 and  above.  He  offered his  understanding that                                                               
the earthquake in  Christchurch was a magnitude  6.3 and resulted                                                               
in  close  to  200 deaths,  and  the  one  in  Italy was  also  a                                                               
magnitude 6.3.   He said, "There were over  300 deaths associated                                                               
with  earthquakes."   He related  that in  2014, Alaska  had over                                                               
five earthquakes in  greater than magnitude 6.  He  said three of                                                               
them  occurred in  remote parts  of the  state, but  one occurred                                                               
close to Fairbanks,  and another close to Anchorage.   If the two                                                               
earthquakes  near cities  had been  any closer  to those  cities,                                                               
they could have resulted in destruction.                                                                                        
MR. SCHER said  the first of ASHSC's statutory  powers and duties                                                               
is to work with the governor  and the legislature to find ways to                                                               
mitigate  the  hazard or  the  risk  to  the population  and  the                                                               
state's infrastructure.   He  said he  thinks the  most practical                                                               
and cost-effective way to reduce  the risk of a future earthquake                                                               
to  public  safety  is  through  the  continuation  of  education                                                               
outreach and awareness.  He said  HB 35 will not only honor those                                                               
who lost their  lives in the 1964 earthquake, but  also will go a                                                               
long way  in helping the  commission spread awareness,  which can                                                               
save lives.                                                                                                                     
8:41:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN,  after  ascertaining  that no  one  else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 35.                                                                                      
8:41:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER asked  for  the  prime sponsor's  feedback                                                               
regarding Mr. Volanti's  suggestion for a title change.   He said                                                               
he thinks there are many Alaskans  who think of the earthquake as                                                               
the Good Friday earthquake.                                                                                                     
8:42:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT said  she  was sure  Bishop Edward  Burns                                                             
would  love  to  have  "Good  Friday" in  the  title  of  HB  35;                                                             
therefore, she stated that she would not [oppose] an amendment.                                                                 
8:42:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER moved to adopt Amendment 1, as follows:                                                                   
     Page 1, line 1:                                                                                                            
       Between    "Great    Alaska"    and    "Earthquake                                                                     
     Remembrance Day"                                                                                                         
          Insert "Good Friday"                                                                                                  
8:43:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to  adopt a  conceptual amendment                                                               
to  Amendment 1,  to  conform the  same  language throughout  the                                                               
bill.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                             
CHAIR LYNN announced that there  being no objection, Amendment 1,                                                               
as amended, was adopted.                                                                                                        
8:44:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to   report  HB  35,  Version  29-                                                               
LS0212\W,   as  amended,   out  of   committee  with   individual                                                               
recommendations  and the  accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There                                                               
being  no  objection, HB  35(STA)  passed  from the  House  State                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     
8:44:39 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:45 a.m. to 8:47 a.m.                                                                       
         HB 13-ELECTION PAMPHLETS AND ABSENTEE BALLOTS                                                                      
8:47:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the final order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL NO. 13, "An Act requiring  notice of the postage required to                                                               
mail an absentee ballot on  the envelope provided by the division                                                               
of elections for returning an  absentee ballot; and repealing the                                                               
authority to include  certain material from a  political party in                                                               
the election pamphlet."                                                                                                         
8:47:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER moved to adopt  the proposed committee (CS)                                                               
substitute  Version  29-LS0091\E,  Bullard,  2/3/15,  as  a  work                                                               
8:48:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                
8:48:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LES  GARA,  Alaska State  Legislature,  as  joint                                                               
prime sponsor,  presented HB 13.   He acknowledged Chair  Lynn as                                                               
the  other joint  prime  sponsor.   He  said  the state  election                                                               
pamphlet  allows each  political party  up  to two  pages in  the                                                               
election pamphlet, at  a cost of $600 per page,  which he said is                                                               
a nominal  fee that  covers the cost  of printing  and publishing                                                               
those pages.  Typically, those pages  have been used to state the                                                               
party's  position;  however,  in  the 2014  election,  an  attack                                                               
advertisement ("ad") was  placed for the first time.   He said he                                                               
thinks that  depending upon who  the chairs of  political parties                                                               
are  in the  future,  Alaska can  expect to  see  that course  of                                                               
conduct  on a  regular basis.   He  said this  is a  non-partisan                                                               
issue.  Representative  Gara said there are plenty  of attack ads                                                               
on television and  radio during the election season,  but he does                                                               
not think  they should  be funded  by the  state in  the election                                                               
pamphlet,  which  he characterized  as  "more  of an  information                                                               
8:50:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA said  Version E would delete  language in law                                                               
that allows  parties to buy  two pages in the  election pamphlet.                                                               
He  said,   in  that  the   fee  goes  to  the   publication  and                                                               
distribution of  the pamphlets, the  Division of  Elections would                                                               
not lose money.   He said neither he nor Chair  Lynn want to make                                                               
this issue partisan.                                                                                                            
8:52:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  referred to  language [of  Section 1  of the                                                               
original bill  version], which would  have required  the division                                                               
to print how  much postage is necessary to mail  a ballot back to                                                               
the Division of  Elections on the return envelope.   He explained                                                               
that the cost  is often more than just one  stamp, and the United                                                               
States Post  Office (USPS) normally  delivers those  ballots, but                                                               
then the division  must pay for the underpaid  postage.  However,                                                               
he said  that part  of the  bill has been  dropped in  Version E,                                                               
because the  joint prime  sponsors feel that  the issue  could be                                                               
addressed within the division.                                                                                                  
8:53:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  said he thinks  the proposed  legislation is                                                               
good.  He  stated his assumption that probably 95  percent of all                                                               
candidates purchase two  pages in the election  pamphlet on which                                                               
to publish their  biographies and political platform.   He called                                                               
this good  advertising, because  he opined  that people  pay more                                                               
attention to  the election  pamphlet than they  do to  junk mail.                                                               
He offered  his understanding  that a  candidate can  "say almost                                                               
8:55:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER said the bill  makes him uncomfortable.  He                                                               
said Representative  Gara implied  that the state  subsidized the                                                               
ads  from political  parties,  but  he said  that  the ad  states                                                               
clearly  which  party  has  paid   for  it.    He  asked  whether                                                               
Representative Gara was saying that  the disclaimers are a lie or                                                               
implying that  the value of  the ad was  "a whole lot  more" than                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GARA clarified  what he had meant to  say was that                                                               
the cost of  the election pamphlet on the whole  is more than the                                                               
fees charged to  publish it; therefore, the state  loses a little                                                               
money.   He said Chair  Lynn is correct  that the voters  rely on                                                               
the  election  pamphlet  as an  informational  pamphlet  and  the                                                               
question is whether attack ads should be included.                                                                              
8:57:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  interjected  that  he  does  not  see  the  proposed                                                               
legislation as prohibiting  attack ads, but as  prohibiting an ad                                                               
by a political  party, whether it is  an attack or not.   He said                                                               
an ad may be  seen as an attack in the eyes  of the beholder, but                                                               
not by someone else.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GARA said  that is correct.  He  said the proposed                                                               
legislation  is not  intended to  define what  an attack  is, but                                                               
will take  out the section that  allows parties to pay  for those                                                               
two  pages, now  that  it has  been  seen how  they  can be  used                                                               
[negatively], perhaps by all parties.                                                                                           
8:58:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER opined that  debate and interaction between                                                               
the parties  are beneficial.   He asked  whether there  are other                                                               
publications  in the  state that  sell ads  because there  may be                                                               
further implications.   He stated that  he does not see  the real                                                               
advantage of avoiding conflict and interaction.                                                                                 
8:59:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA said  this  would not  be  a slippery  slope                                                               
because "this is the only publication  where we want this rule to                                                               
apply."   He  offered his  understanding that  there is  no other                                                               
state-funded publication that  is as relied upon  as the election                                                               
pamphlet,  and said  he  thinks  the public  has  a distaste  for                                                               
negative ads.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER  suggested   that  some   senior  centers                                                               
subsidized by  the state may  have fliers or newspapers  that are                                                               
9:00:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES cited  the bill title, which  read: "An Act                                                               
repealing  the  authority  to include  certain  material  from  a                                                               
political party  in the  election pamphlet."   She  asked whether                                                               
the  intent  of HB  13  was  to  exempt  all ads  from  political                                                               
parties, or just certain ads.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  answered that  current law  allows political                                                               
parties to  purchase up  to two pages  in the  election pamphlet.                                                               
He noted  that the law  is contained  in the statutes  listed [on                                                               
page 1,  line 4, of  Version E].   Those three statutes  would be                                                               
removed  under  HB  13; therefore,  political  parties  would  be                                                               
barred from taking out ad space.   He added that candidates would                                                               
still  be allowed  to  advertise.   He  said  candidates are  not                                                               
allowed  to attack  their opponents  when they  issue a  personal                                                               
statement; that is a guideline from the division.                                                                               
9:01:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA,  in response to Representative  Keller, said                                                               
no one else can buy an ad in  the pamphlet.  In response to Chair                                                               
Lynn, he said  a candidate cannot buy an ad;  he/she only can buy                                                               
space  for a  position  statement.   He  offered further  details                                                               
regarding   the   restrictions   on  the   candidates'   position                                                               
CHAIR  LYNN asked  for  confirmation  that what  he  puts in  the                                                               
election campaign to  further his own campaign  is not considered                                                               
to be an ad.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  answered that that is  a statement regulated                                                               
by the Division of Elections; it  includes a statement of so many                                                               
words,  a photo,  a  biography, and  a web  site.   Further,  the                                                               
division allows a  "pro" and a "con" on the  propositions.  There                                                               
are no graphics or "ugly pictures of the other side" allowed.                                                                   
9:04:00 AM                                                                                                                    
PAMELA GOODE stated that she  agrees with the joint-prime sponsor                                                               
regarding the  ads in the back  [of the election pamphlet].   She                                                               
said  she noticed  that those  ads were  restricted to  political                                                               
parties; political  groups could not  utilize them.   She posited                                                               
that is a way the state  is subsidizing political parties and not                                                               
groups.   Further, she  said when  candidates participate  in the                                                               
pamphlet  they  are  clearly notified  that  they  cannot  attack                                                               
opponents; there are guidelines by which they must abide.                                                                       
9:05:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  directed  attention to  AS  15.58.060,                                                               
which sets  forth the charges,  and he observed that  the statute                                                               
was last  amended 18 years  ago.  He said  the amount it  costs a                                                               
state  representative  to  have  his/her name  published  in  the                                                               
pamphlet  is only  $100,  and  he would  like  to  know what  the                                                               
inflation has  been in that time,  and he suggested that  a small                                                               
increase in the amount charged may be in order.                                                                                 
9:07:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA said  the candidate  filing fee  is $100,  a                                                               
political  party is  charged $600  per page,  and there  are some                                                               
other non-legislative candidates that pay  $300.  He said he does                                                               
not  know  the  inflation  rate, but  reiterated  that  the  fees                                                               
collected  do  not  entirely  cover the  cost  of  producing  the                                                               
election pamphlet.                                                                                                              
9:08:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG mentioned  that most  races are  won in                                                               
the primary because  most districts are one-party  districts.  He                                                               
said,  unfortunately,  candidate pages  are  not  allowed in  the                                                               
primary election  pamphlet so the  public cannot learn  about the                                                               
candidate, only about the ballot propositions.                                                                                  
CHAIR   LYNN   asked   whether   Representative   Gruenberg   was                                                               
considering  an amendment  to the  bill because  the subject  was                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he was considering one.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA replied  that  although  he understands  the                                                               
idea, adding candidate information  to primary election pamphlets                                                               
would cost even  more money.  He  said he does not  think this is                                                               
the right year to introduce that idea given the budget deficit.                                                                 
CHAIR LYNN  indicated he did  not want  to bring that  topic into                                                               
9:10:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  asked Representative Gara whether  he knew                                                               
how much savings there would be with four less pages to print.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  offered his understanding that  the $600 per                                                               
page  cost   roughly  equals  the   cost  of  the   printing  and                                                               
publication of those pages; therefore, "it's a wash."                                                                           
9:11:09 AM                                                                                                                    
GAIL  FENUMIAI, Director,  Division of  Elections, Office  of the                                                               
Lieutenant Governor, in  response to Chair Lynn,  stated that the                                                               
division  would  implement  the  statutes  at  the  will  of  the                                                               
committee.  She  said she was pleased that Section  1 was removed                                                               
from the original  bill version, resulting in  Version E, because                                                               
it would  have been  problematic for the  division.   She relayed                                                               
that the  division does  provide a  notice in  the packet  to the                                                               
voters identifying  how much  postage is  required to  return the                                                               
voter ballot  back to the division.   In response to  Chair Lynn,                                                               
she confirmed that the division  wants all ballots to be counted,                                                               
and  stated  that   the  USPS  does  not  return   a  ballot  for                                                               
insufficient postage  and the division  bears the cost,  but that                                                               
happens infrequently.  In response  to another question, she said                                                               
the  cost  to  the  division to  cover  insufficient  postage  is                                                               
9:13:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  Ms.  Fenumiai what  the rate  of                                                               
inflation would have been since 1996.                                                                                           
MS.  FENUMIAI  answered  she  does  not know.    To  a  follow-up                                                               
question, she said she did not  have the cost of monies that were                                                               
received  from  the  2014  pamphlet,   but  could  look  up  that                                                               
information.   Nevertheless,  she  said, the  total  cost of  the                                                               
General Election  pamphlet for 2014 was  $256,090, which included                                                               
printing,  postage,  staff  travel,  and a  temporary  worker  to                                                               
assist with the publication of the pamphlet.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said last  year the legislature passed a                                                               
law  that put  this biographical  information in  the primary  on                                                               
line, and asked whether that law had been implemented.                                                                          
MS. FENUMIAI  answered yes.   She said the division  provides any                                                               
candidate information  on the  division's web  site at  least two                                                               
weeks before the primary election.                                                                                              
9:14:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN asked  whether the  information  put on  line by  the                                                               
division includes the political party advertisements.                                                                           
MS. FENUMIAI  answered that the  entire pamphlet is  available on                                                               
9:15:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  questioned  whether  there  may  be  a                                                               
significant  number of  people  who  do not  have  access to  the                                                               
Internet and, thus, only have access to the printed document.                                                                   
MS. FENUMIAI said  she did not know.  In  response to a follow-up                                                               
question, she said  she did not know whether  that information is                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG, in  response  to Chair  Lynn, said  he                                                               
thinks his questions are germane to the subject matter.                                                                         
9:16:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN, after  ascertaining that  no one  further wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 13.                                                                                      
9:16:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER requested that the  committee hold HB 13 in                                                               
order to  have the consideration  of several members  he observed                                                               
were missing.                                                                                                                   
9:17:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG removed his objection to the motion to                                                                 
adopt Version E.  [There being no further objection, Version E                                                                  
was before the committee.]                                                                                                      
9:17:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced that HB 13 was held over.                                                                                  
9:17:58 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:18                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1 HB 35 Ver W.PDF HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 35
2 HB35 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 35
3 HB35 Supporting Documents-Facts and Figures.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 35
4 HB35 Supporting Documents-Letter Chuck Volanti 1-26-2015.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 35
5 HB35 Supporting Documents-Letter Valdez Mayor.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 35
6 HB35 Supporting Documents-Letter Anchorage Mayor.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 35
7 HB35 Supporting Documents-Letter PCI.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 35
8 HB35 Fiscal Note.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 35
9 HB35 Supporting Documents-Letter AK SHSC.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 35
01 HB 13 ver H.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13
01a HB 13 Draft Proposed Blank CS ver E.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13
01b HB 13 Explanation of Changes in CS.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13
02 HB 13 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13
03 HB 13 Sectional.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13
04 HB 13 Supporting Documents Cost of OEP and Revenue from ads CORRECTED.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13
04 HB 13 Supporting Documents Cost of OEP and Revenue from ads CORRECTED.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13
06 HB 13 Supporting Documents Recent Election Postage.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13
07 HB 13 Supporting Documents DOE Pays Insufficient Postage.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13
08 HB13 fiscalNote.pdf HSTA 2/5/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 13