Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

03/19/2020 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
03:03:34 PM Start
03:05:09 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
03:05:27 PM Alaska Police Standards Council
03:30:55 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 3/20/20 at 2:00 pm --
+= HB 253 SALE, TRANSFER, OR DISPOSAL OF FERRIES TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Public Testimony --
+= HB 274 PROPERTY INSUR. SURCHARGE; FIRE STDRS TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
- State Commission for Human Rights
- Alaska Public Offices Commission
- Personnel Board
- State Board of Parole
- Alaska Police Standards Council
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 19, 2020                                                                                         
                           3:03 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Zack Fields, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Co-Chair                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
State Commission for Human Rights                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Jamie Allard - Eagle River                                                                                                 
     William Craig - Sitka                                                                                                      
     Elizabeth "Betsy" Engle - Fairbanks                                                                                        
     Evelyn Falzerano - Anchorage                                                                                               
     Kyle Foster - Anchorage                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Alaska Public Offices Commission                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Dan LaSota - Fairbanks                                                                                                     
     Hardy "Van" Lawrence - Fairbanks                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Personnel Board                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Craig Johnson - Anchorage                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
State Board of Parole                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Leitoni "Lei" Tupou - Juneau                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Alaska Police Standards Council                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Ed Mercer - Juneau                                                                                                         
     Daniel Weatherly - Anchor Point                                                                                            
     Joseph White - Ketchikan                                                                                                   
     Jennifer Winkelman - Juneau                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JAMIE ALLARD, Appointee                                                                                                         
State Commission for Human Rights                                                                                               
Eagle River, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as an appointee to the State                                                                   
Commissioner for Human Rights.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:03:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  ZACK FIELDS  called the  House  State Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 3:03 p.m.   Representatives Story,                                                               
Vance,  and   Fields  were   present  at   the  call   to  order.                                                               
Representatives Hopkins  and Shaw arrived  as the meeting  was in                                                               
progress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
3:05:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS announced that the only order of business would                                                                 
be consideration of Governor's appointees for various boards and                                                                
commissions.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
^State Commission for Human Rights                                                                                              
               State Commission for Human Rights                                                                            
^Alaska Public Offices Commission                                                                                               
                Alaska Public Offices Commission                                                                            
^Personnel Board                                                                                                                
                        Personnel Board                                                                                     
^State Board of Parole                                                                                                          
                     State Board of Parole                                                                                  
^Alaska Police Standards Council                                                                                                
                Alaska Police Standards Council                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
3:05:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  invited  State   Commission  for  Human  Rights                                                               
appointee, Jamie Allard, to give her statement.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:05:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMIE  ALLARD,  Appointee,  State Commission  for  Human  Rights,                                                               
described her  background:  both  parents were immigrants  to the                                                               
U.S. and became citizens; her  father put himself through college                                                               
and started a  successful career; her father died at  a young age                                                               
and her  mother raised  four children  as a  single parent.   Ms.                                                               
Allard  realized  at  an  early  age the  importance  of  a  good                                                               
education.   She reviewed her  opportunities and  achievements in                                                               
athletics, the  U.S. Army,  the U.S.  Department of  State (DOS),                                                               
the  U.S.  Department  of  Veterans  Affairs  (DVA),  the  Social                                                               
Security  Administration (SSA),  the U.S.  Department of  Defense                                                               
(DoD),  and  the  Alaska  Department  of  Military  and  Veterans                                                               
Affairs (DMVA).   She has been  married for 23 years  and has two                                                               
daughters.   She  is in  her  third year  at Norwich  University,                                                               
Senior Military College,  and plans to graduate with  a degree in                                                               
national security studies.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ALLARD stated  that she  understands the  importance of  the                                                               
State  Commission  for  Human  Rights -  as  someone  of  Chilean                                                               
descent, as a disabled veteran, and  as a female, "who has fought                                                               
for everything she's ever wanted."   She said that as a volunteer                                                               
for the commission,  she pledges to follow the law  and work with                                                               
her fellow commissioners to accomplish the mission.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:09:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  said  that  the mission  statement  is  to                                                               
eliminate  and  prevent discrimination  for  all  Alaskans.   She                                                               
asked the  appointee for her  assessment of the current  state of                                                               
human rights  for Alaskans  and to comment  on whether  there are                                                               
groups not receiving adequate protection.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD answered that the  commission's operating framework is                                                               
established by federal and state law.   She said that her duty as                                                               
a commissioner  is to implement  the commission's  mission within                                                               
that framework  with compassion and  understanding for all.   She                                                               
maintained that it is her  duty to ensure that occurs, regardless                                                               
of a person's  station, history, or background.   She added, "And                                                               
I believe  they are treated fairly  and justly with the  care and                                                               
the compassion."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY asked  whether  Ms. Allard  feels that  any                                                               
groups are not receiving adequate protections now.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD replied,  "What I feel is irrelevant.   What I am here                                                               
to  do  is  make  sure  that Alaska  Statute  Title  18,  Section                                                               
18.80.060,  Powers  and duties  of  the  commission, line  5,  is                                                               
followed."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked her  to share  her assessment  of the                                                               
current state  of human  rights for Alaskans  and what  she would                                                               
hope to accomplish.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ALLARD  reiterated  that  it  is her  duty  to  ensure  that                                                               
regardless  of a  person's station,  history, or  background, the                                                               
person  is  treated fairly  and  justly  with  the care  and  the                                                               
compassion.  She stated that she will only follow the state law.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked  for  Ms. Allard's  opinion  on  how                                                               
Alaska is performing on "caring for all."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD expressed her belief  that the commission is doing the                                                               
best job it can; it has  had a large turnover in commissioners in                                                               
the  last year;  it  meets  regularly; and  it  will continue  to                                                               
ensure that everyone  is taken care of properly  according to the                                                               
law.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked whether Ms.  Allard was aware  of any                                                               
areas needing work.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD  responded that anything coming  before the commission                                                               
will be  addressed according to the  law.  She added  that HB 119                                                               
[APPLICABILITY   OF   HUMAN   RIGHTS  COMMISSION]   and   HB   82                                                               
[DISCRIMINATION:  GENDER  ID.;  SEXUAL ORIENT.]  are  before  the                                                               
legislature, but the commission has  not discussed them; they are                                                               
on the next meeting's agenda.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked Ms. Allard whether  she believes that                                                               
sexual  orientation  and   gender  identity  are  characteristics                                                               
worthy of protection.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD answered that under HB 82, that would be evaluated.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked Ms.  Allard if  it was  her interpretation                                                               
that the law  does not currently protect  [sexual orientation and                                                               
gender identity].                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD replied no, that's  not her interpretation.  She cited                                                               
AS 18.80.060(a)(5), which read:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     (5)  study the  problems  of discrimination  in all  or                                                                    
     specific fields of  human relationships, foster through                                                                    
     community   effort   or   goodwill,   cooperation   and                                                                    
     conciliation  among  the  groups and  elements  of  the                                                                    
     population  of  the  state,   and  publish  results  of                                                                    
     investigations  and research  as in  its judgment  will                                                                    
     tend  to  eliminate  discrimination  because  of  race,                                                                    
     religion, color, national  ancestry, physical or mental                                                                    
     disability,  age,  sex,   marital  status,  changes  in                                                                    
     marital status, pregnancy, or parenthood;                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  Ms.  Allard whether  she  thinks the  law                                                               
provides protections for people based on sexual orientation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ALLARD  responded  that  she  does not  have  the  right  to                                                               
interpret the  law beyond  what is  in statute;  it would  be the                                                               
duty of the commission.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:15:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS cited Ms. Allard's  Facebook post of July [2019],                                                               
which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     These so  called Village Police Officers  aren't police                                                                    
     as that word  has legal meaning here  in Alaska. VPSOs,                                                                    
     local police,  State Troopers and  some few  others are                                                                    
     commissioned  by  the  Commissioner of  Public  Safety,                                                                    
     Amanda Price. They have to  meet State standards, which                                                                    
     vary from the very limited  commission of a VPSO to the                                                                    
     geographically  limited  commission  local  police  and                                                                    
     airport police, to the unlimited  commission of a State                                                                    
     Trooper.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The individuals at  issue are simply people  hired by a                                                                    
     village   government,  most   of  them   not  political                                                                    
     subdivisions  of  the  State  and  acting  under  their                                                                    
     perception  of  tribal  or federal  authority.  In  the                                                                    
     village  they  could perhaps  detain  you  and put  you                                                                    
     before the  village counsel, but under  Alaska law even                                                                    
     the  village  counsel  lacks  any  real  authority  for                                                                    
     criminal prosecution.  Which brings us to  what this is                                                                    
     really  about;  the   sovereignty  advocates  want  the                                                                    
     villages   to   have   police   powers   and   criminal                                                                    
     prosecution  powers  separate  from State  and  federal                                                                    
     jurisdiction,  and the  State  of  Alaska should  never                                                                    
     tolerate that.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  asked  whether  Ms.  Allard  was  categorically                                                               
opposed to recognition of tribal sovereignty.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD answered  that it was not  her job to take  a stand on                                                               
that;  as a  commissioner  she  must follow  the  laws which  the                                                               
legislature has enacted.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS suggested  that  many people  equate a  person's                                                               
position on tribal sovereignty with racial equality.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ALLARD expressed  that she  does  not believe  the issue  is                                                               
relevant to her position on the commission.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE agreed  that sovereignty  and race  are two                                                               
separate  issues, as  they pertain  to the  State Commission  for                                                               
Human Rights.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  suggested that lay  people reading  the Facebook                                                               
post could view it as racist, therefore, germane.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD  replied, "Just because  I posted a post  stating what                                                               
the legal law  is here in the  state of Alaska has  nothing to do                                                               
with anybody's race, and to take  ... a post that I've posted and                                                               
try to imply that I'm racist or  to implicate that it is a racist                                                               
post, is absurd."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:19:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS cited  Ms. Allard's  website, which  stated that                                                               
Ms.  Allard  was  appointed  by   Governor  [Mike]  Dunleavy  and                                                               
encouraged  by  a  friend  to  resign  and  run  for  the  [Eagle                                                               
River/Chugiak seat  on the  Municipality of  Anchorage Assembly].                                                               
He asked,  "Is it  not the  case that you  were forced  to resign                                                               
from that position by your supervisor?"                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD responded, "No, I was not forced to resign."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked how  long Ms. Allard  worked as  a special                                                               
assistant at DMVA."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD answered that her  recollection is that she started on                                                               
December  28, 2018,  and resigned  May 2019.   She  confirmed for                                                               
Representative  Fields that  she was  in the  position about  six                                                               
months.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked  her how many offices she  occupied at DMVA                                                               
and  how many  of the  office changes  required her  to force  an                                                               
existing employee to vacate the office for her.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD replied  that she occupied one office  the entire time                                                               
she was with DMVA.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked how many  requests she made to purchase new                                                               
equipment or conduct major office remodels.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD responded  that she asked for a printer  in her office                                                               
-  with approval  from the  commissioner -  to ensure  privacy of                                                               
documents  that  she  printed  as   a  special  assistant.    She                                                               
mentioned that she  received a used printer.   She confirmed that                                                               
she never requested any office remodels.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:22:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  Ms.  Allard  for the  date  she moved  to                                                               
Alaska and the time period she lived in Alaska.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD  answered that she moved  to Alaska May 2010,  left in                                                               
August 2014  for her  husband to  finish his  engineering degree,                                                               
and moved back in May-June 2017.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  asked  whether  she applied  for  and  received                                                               
permanent  fund  dividends (PFDs)  during  her  absence from  the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD responded,  "Yes, we did."  She  explained that during                                                               
the two years that her  husband attended school, they applied for                                                               
and received PFDs - according to  Alaska Statutes.  The last year                                                               
they  were  out of  state  her  husband  had graduated,  and  PFD                                                               
Division personnel advised them to  apply for the PFD even though                                                               
they would not be eligible,  so that their information would stay                                                               
in the system.  They did not receive their PFDs for that year.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:24:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked about the  successful mortgage company that                                                               
she  owned,  as  stated  on  her website,  and  if  she  had  any                                                               
foreclosures or repossessed vehicles.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD confirmed  for Representative Fields that  she owned a                                                               
small business in 2003-2005, had  no repossessed vehicles, and is                                                               
unclear what he is talking about in reference to foreclosures.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:25:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  cited the  duties of the  commission listed                                                               
under AS 18.80.060(a)(5), which read:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     (5)  study the  problems  of discrimination  in all  or                                                                    
     specific fields of  human relationships, foster through                                                                    
     community   effort   or   goodwill,   cooperation   and                                                                    
     conciliation  among  the  groups and  elements  of  the                                                                    
     population  of  the  state,   and  publish  results  of                                                                    
     investigations  and research  as in  its judgment  will                                                                    
     tend  to  eliminate  discrimination  because  of  race,                                                                    
     religion, color, national  ancestry, physical or mental                                                                    
     disability,  age,  sex,   marital  status,  changes  in                                                                    
     marital status, pregnancy, or parenthood;                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked what community efforts,  goodwill, or                                                               
cooperation with groups that Ms. Allard has planned.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD answered that she doesn't  know fully what the role of                                                               
commissioners will be, as there has been a large turnover.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked  Ms.  Allard  to  elaborate  on  the                                                               
following:   what  her plans  are for  eliminating discrimination                                                               
and  fostering goodwill  and cooperation;  what problems  she has                                                               
identified [regarding human  rights in Alaska]; why  she wants to                                                               
serve on the  commission; what she wants to  accomplish; and what                                                               
she feels  passionate about as  far as needed changes  and needed                                                               
protections.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD responded  that a strong team  of commissioners serves                                                               
on  the  State   Commission  for  Human  Rights;   they  are  all                                                               
volunteers;  following   the  law  is  their   assignment.    She                                                               
maintained that she is disabled  and legally deaf; therefore, she                                                               
has understanding and  sympathy for that group.   She stated that                                                               
as far  as activities in  the community, the  commissioners would                                                               
need to decide  that together; they haven't  had much opportunity                                                               
to come together as a team.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:28:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  closed by relaying  that Ms.  Allard's testimony                                                               
directly conflicts  with what  he has  heard from  her coworkers.                                                               
He expressed  his understanding  that she  was forced  to resign,                                                               
she requested  substantial office equipment and  renovations, and                                                               
her  abrasive  personality is  why  she  was  not in  her  [DMVA]                                                               
position longer.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
3:29:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS   stated  that  the  House   Resources  Standing                                                               
Committee  has  reviewed  the qualifications  of  the  governor's                                                               
appointees for the State Commission  for Human Rights, the Alaska                                                               
Public Offices  Commission, the Personnel Board,  the State Board                                                               
of  Parole,   and  the  Alaska   Police  Standards   Council  and                                                               
recommends that  the names  be forwarded to  a joint  session for                                                               
consideration. This  does not  reflect the intent  by any  of the                                                               
members  to vote  for  or against  these  individuals during  any                                                               
future sessions for the purpose of confirmation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:30:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The House State  Affairs Standing Committee was  recessed at 3:30                                                               
p.m.  [The meeting reconvened March 20, 2020.]                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects