Legislature(2021 - 2022)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

04/27/2021 03:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 10 FUNTER BAY MARINE PARK: UNANGAN CEMETERY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 81 VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER GRANTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                         April 27, 2021                                                                                         
                           3:30 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Robert Myers, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
Senator David Wilson                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 10                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the Funter  Bay marine park unit of the state                                                               
park system; relating to protection  of the social and historical                                                               
significance  of  the Unangax  cemetery  located  in Funter  Bay;                                                               
providing  for  the amendment  of  the  management plan  for  the                                                               
Funter  Bay marine  park  unit; and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 81                                                                                                              
"An  Act requiring  background investigations  of village  public                                                               
safety  officer applicants  by the  Department of  Public Safety;                                                               
relating  to  the  village public  safety  officer  program;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 10                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: FUNTER BAY MARINE PARK: UNANGAN CEMETERY                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) HANNAN                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/18/21       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/8/21                                                                                
02/18/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/21       (H)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
02/24/21       (H)       TRB REPLACES FIN REFERRAL                                                                              
02/24/21       (H)       BILL REPRINTED                                                                                         
03/01/21       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/01/21       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/03/21       (H)       RES REFERRAL MOVED TO AFTER TRB                                                                        
03/03/21       (H)       BILL REPRINTED                                                                                         
03/09/21       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/09/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/09/21       (H)       MINUTE(TRB)                                                                                            
03/11/21       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/11/21       (H)       Moved HB 10 Out of Committee                                                                           
03/11/21       (H)       MINUTE(TRB)                                                                                            
03/12/21       (H)       TRB RPT 4DP                                                                                            
03/12/21       (H)       DP: FIELDS, ORTIZ, CRONK, ZULKOSKY                                                                     
03/26/21       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/26/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/26/21       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/31/21       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/31/21       (H)       Moved HB 10 Out of Committee                                                                           
03/31/21       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/05/21       (H)       RES RPT 7DP 2NR                                                                                        
04/05/21       (H)       DP: MCKAY, FIELDS, CRONK, HOPKINS,                                                                     
                         HANNAN, SCHRAGE, PATKOTAK                                                                              
04/05/21       (H)       NR: RAUSCHER, GILLHAM                                                                                  
04/09/21       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/09/21       (H)       VERSION: HB 10                                                                                         
04/12/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/12/21       (S)       CRA, RES                                                                                               
04/23/21       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/23/21       (S)       <Pending Referral>                                                                                     
04/27/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 81                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER GRANTS                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) OLSON                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/12/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/12/21       (S)       CRA, STA, FIN                                                                                          
04/20/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
04/20/21       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/20/21       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/27/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SARA HANNAN                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 10.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
TIM CLARK, Staff                                                                                                                
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Delivered a presentation on HB 10 on behalf                                                               
of the sponsor.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PRESTON KROES, Superintendent                                                                                                   
Southeast Region                                                                                                                
Alaska State Parks                                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions about HB 10.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
RICKY GEASE, Director                                                                                                           
Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation                                                                                        
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Stated support for HB 10 on behalf of the                                                                 
division.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DONNY OLSON                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 81.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KEN TRUITT, Staff                                                                                                               
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions regarding SB 81.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JASON WILSON, Manager and VPSO Coordinator                                                                                      
Public Safety Department                                                                                                        
Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 81.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL NEMETH, VPSO Coordinator                                                                                                
Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 81.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DARRELL HILDEBRAND, VPSO Coordinator                                                                                            
Public Safety Director                                                                                                          
Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                                                                        
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 81.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:30:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHELLEY HUGHES  called the  Senate Community  and Regional                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  meeting   to  order  at  3:30  p.m.                                                               
Present at the  call to order were  Senators Gray-Jackson, Myers,                                                               
and Chair Hughes. Senator Wilson arrived soon thereafter.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
         HB 10-FUNTER BAY MARINE PARK: UNANGAN CEMETERY                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:31:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  announced the  consideration of  HOUSE BILL  NO. 10                                                               
"An Act relating to the Funter  Bay marine park unit of the state                                                               
park system; relating to protection  of the social and historical                                                               
significance  of  the Unangan  cemetery  located  in Funter  Bay;                                                               
providing  for  the amendment  of  the  management plan  for  the                                                               
Funter  Bay marine  park  unit; and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
She identified the invited testifiers.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:32:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SARA HANNAN,  Alaska  State Legislature,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska,  sponsor  of  HB  10,  explained  that  this  legislation                                                               
proposes  to add  the  cemetery  in Funter  Bay  to the  existing                                                               
Funter Bay  State Marine  Park, which is  located about  14 miles                                                               
due west of  Juneau on the northern tip of  Admiralty Island. She                                                               
said  this was  an ocean  away for  the Unangax  people who  were                                                               
forced to relocate  from the Pribilof Islands,  and the ecosystem                                                               
was completely different.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
She noted that  this bill was heard in the  31st legislature, but                                                               
did not make it through the process.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:33:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  recognized  that Senator  Wilson  had  joined  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  continued  the   introduction  of  HB  10                                                               
relaying  the information  in  the  following sponsor  statement:                                                               
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     HB 10  will transfer the  parcel of land  that includes                                                                    
     the Unangax cemetery in Funter  Bay from the Department                                                                    
     of Natural Resources Division of  Land Mining and Water                                                                    
     to  the Department  of  Natural  Resources Division  of                                                                    
     Parks and Recreation.  The parcel will be  added to the                                                                    
     Funter Bay  Marine Park unit  of the state  park system                                                                    
     for land management.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     HB  10  will  preserve  the  cemetery  and  ensure  its                                                                    
     protection so that  we may remember those  who died and                                                                    
     recognize  the social  and  historical significance  of                                                                    
     the site.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     When the  Japanese invaded the Aleutian  Islands during                                                                    
     WWII,  the Unangax  people were  forcibly removed  from                                                                    
     the Pribilof Islands and  interned in Southeast Alaska.                                                                    
     Some were  sent to  Killisnoo near Angoon,  others were                                                                    
     sent  to  Burnett  Inlet,  some   were  sent  to  other                                                                    
     Southeast locations  and the  rest were sent  to Funter                                                                    
     Bay near Juneau. They were  given little notice and the                                                                    
     villagers  could take  only what  they could  carry. It                                                                    
     was hasty and traumatic.  The Unangax were abandoned in                                                                    
     old  cannery bunk  houses not  meant to  house so  many                                                                    
     people  and  not  built for  protection  from  winter's                                                                    
     harshness.  Entire  families  were sheltered  in  small                                                                    
     cubicles   that  were   separated  sometimes   only  by                                                                    
     blankets.  The living  conditions  were unsanitary  and                                                                    
     there was inadequate food supply,  no medical care, and                                                                    
     no  facilities  for  bathing,   cooking  or  using  the                                                                    
     bathroom.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Less than  30 miles away  in Excursion Inlet,  700 Nazi                                                                    
     Afrika Korps  officers were imprisoned  at a  POW camp.                                                                    
     The  Nazis,  sworn enemies  of  the  United States  and                                                                    
     allies,  were  treated  far  better  than  the  Unangax                                                                    
     because   their    conditions   were    guaranteed   by                                                                    
     international  law.   The  700  German   prisoners  all                                                                    
     returned home after the war  without a single one dying                                                                    
     during their imprisonment.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Back on  the Pribilofs, the  homes of the  Unangax were                                                                    
     occupied by  the U.S.  military and  looted, vandalized                                                                    
     and some  were even burned  down. The Unangax  men were                                                                    
     forced  back to  the Pribilofs  to harvest  seal during                                                                    
     the summer months  because the revenue was  a source of                                                                    
     income for  the U.S. government.  The men did  not want                                                                    
     to leave their  families but were told  that they would                                                                    
     not be  permitted to  return to  their homes  after the                                                                    
     war  if they  did  not  help harvest  seal.  This is  a                                                                    
     disturbing parallel  to when the Russians  enslaved the                                                                    
     Unangax nearly  two centuries  earlier and  forced them                                                                    
     to harvest seal on the then uninhabited Pribilofs.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The  Unangax were  left in  the camp  almost two  years                                                                    
     after  it  was  considered  safe to  return  home.  The                                                                    
     deadly conditions  of the camp left  the Unangax people                                                                    
     to  suffer  needlessly.  As a  direct  result  of  this                                                                    
     policy,  many Unangax  interned in  Southeast died  and                                                                    
     some  are  buried in  a  cemetery  in Funter  Bay.  The                                                                    
     descendants of those who were  lost have maintained the                                                                    
     grave sites for 75 years.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     This  bill will  protect the  cemetery and  surrounding                                                                    
     area  for  future  generations without  any  additional                                                                    
     cost to the state.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN stated  that HB 10 would move  250 acres of                                                               
state land in Funter Bay into  an existing state marine park that                                                               
was  established in  the  early 1980s.  She  explained that  when                                                               
constituents  brought  the  idea   for  protecting  the  cemetery                                                               
forward, she  approached the Department of  Natural Resources who                                                               
suggested moving all  remaining parcels of state land  in the bay                                                               
into   the  state   park.  The   department   pointed  out   that                                                               
consolidating management  under the  Division of State  Parks and                                                               
Recreation would  be more efficient  than the current  two agency                                                               
management and oversight system.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN said HB 10  will protect the historical and                                                               
cultural significance of  the cemetery that has  about 35 graves.                                                               
She directed  attention to an  image of the Unangax  Cemetery and                                                               
noted that  the first headstone was  for a baby that  died in the                                                               
fall of 1942,  just a few months after arriving.  She pointed out                                                               
that  the  residents of  the  other  internment camps  throughout                                                               
Southeast were able  to return home two years  earlier than those                                                               
who were held in Funter Bay.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She summarized  that SB 10  preserves the cemetery by  placing it                                                               
in  an  existing  state  park,  and  it  is  at  the  request  of                                                               
descendants  of  those who  have  family  members buried  at  the                                                               
Funter Bay Unangax Cemetery.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:40:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked  if the baby whose grave  marker she mentioned                                                               
died the same year as the relocation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN answered yes; it was June 1942.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES  asked what  year  the  Funter Bay  detainees  were                                                               
allowed to return to the Pribilofs.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN answered  that  people  from Dutch  Harbor                                                               
were allowed return home in 1944.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:41:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  if there  is any  formal designation  of the                                                               
cemetery as an historical site and if it has a formal name.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN answered that  the cemetery has always been                                                               
known  and it  will be  protected by  being in  the state  marine                                                               
park, but  it is  rural and rustic.  The Russian  Orthodox Church                                                               
has been working with descendants  to arrange memorial visits and                                                               
a working  group has been  cleaning up and maintaining  the grave                                                               
sites for  five or six years.  The working group and  the Friends                                                               
of Admiralty Island  have plans to put up  historical markers and                                                               
signage. She  deferred further  explanation to  her staff  who is                                                               
part of the working group.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:44:25 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  CLARK,  Staff,  Representative  Sara  Hannan,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, stated  that the working  group has                                                               
been meeting  weekly for about  three years. This is  a dedicated                                                               
group of  descendants from  Saint Paul  and Saint  George, people                                                               
from the Aleutians,  the Tlingit & Haida  community in Southeast,                                                               
Friends  of Admiralty  Island,  and the  Juneau  City Museum.  He                                                               
advised that the  signage that was mentioned is  intended to help                                                               
identify the short trail from the beach to the cemetery.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:46:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES commented that she has  roots in the general area of                                                               
Funter Bay, but she did not  realize that the people relocated to                                                               
Funter Bay were from Saint Paul  and Saint George, which is where                                                               
her  husband spent  time  in  the 1970s  to  the 1990s  providing                                                               
medical care. She  asked how long it takes to  travel from Juneau                                                               
to Funter Bay by water.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:47:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  answered that it  depends on the  speed of                                                               
the boat but  generally it is from 60-90 minutes.  She noted that                                                               
the limiting factor often isn't  the distance, but that the water                                                               
from the northern end of Admiralty  Island down to Funter Bay can                                                               
be treacherous.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:49:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  commented on the  possibility of a  committee field                                                               
trip  to  Funter Bay  and  asked  how  many  graves were  in  the                                                               
cemetery.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  answered  that  the  U.S.  National  Park                                                               
Service looked  at the possibility  of an  historical designation                                                               
for  all the  relocation camps  and that  survey determined  that                                                               
there are 32 documented graves  at Funter Bay. However, that does                                                               
not account for the unmarked graves  and those that were moved to                                                               
the  cemetery  in  Juneau  where there  was  a  Russian  Orthodox                                                               
priest.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked Mr. Clark to proceed with the PowerPoint.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:50:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. CLARK  advised that the  PowerPoint provides visual  aids for                                                               
the  information  Representative  Hannon has  already  given.  He                                                               
directed  attention  to the  image  on  slide  2 of  the  Unangax                                                               
Cemetery  in Funter  Bay  in  2017. This  was  the  trip that  he                                                               
accompanied  then Speaker  Edgmon and  his constituents  from the                                                               
Pribilofs and  other locations in  western Alaska  to commemorate                                                               
the 75th  anniversary of the  relocation. He noted that  the very                                                               
moving ceremony included Tlingit  elders, Russian Orthodox Church                                                               
officials,  and  other  interested  parties. A  large  cross  was                                                               
erected to mark the entrance to the cemetery.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK displayed  the maps  on slides  3 and  4 that  offer a                                                               
perspective of  the location of  Funter Bay  on the west  side of                                                               
Admiralty Island  relative to Juneau and  a close up of  the land                                                               
designations  around  the  shoreline  of the  bay.  The  sections                                                               
marked  A01 reflect  the 162  acres  of the  existing Funter  Bay                                                               
Marine Park. The  section marked A02 is the primary  area that HB
10  proposes to  add  to the  existing park;  it  comes close  to                                                               
connecting  the  noncontiguous A01  areas.  It  also includes  an                                                               
island of state land in front  of the cannery that would be added                                                               
to the park.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:53:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked if there was  still a gap between the existing                                                               
A01 areas.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK answered yes, it reflects  private land in the area. He                                                               
referenced the  large area on the  south side of the  bay colored                                                               
yellow  and offered  his understanding  of  the ownership.  [This                                                               
area  represents  old  mining  claims   in  the  area,  shoreline                                                               
portions of which are private recreational properties.]                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:53:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. CLARK displayed  the images on slide 5 of  a baby's headstone                                                               
and the remnants  of one of the old cannery  bunk houses that was                                                               
used  to house  the [Unangax  people  from Saint  Paul] who  were                                                               
relocated  to Funter  Bay.  [The people  from  Saint George  were                                                               
housed across the bay at the old mine site.]                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He  concluded  the  presentation   with  a  graphic  showing  the                                                               
location of  the internment  camp in Funter  Bay relative  to the                                                               
internment  camps   in  Killisnoo   near  Angoon,   the  Wrangell                                                               
Institute, Burnett Inlet, and Ward Lake near Ketchikan.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:55:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MYERS  asked when and  why the existing Funter  Bay State                                                               
Marine Park was created.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN answered that the  park was created in 1983                                                               
as a  rural marine  park. She offered  her understanding  that it                                                               
was  created  to ensure  that  recreational  boaters always  have                                                               
access  and  that the  shoreline  is  not entirely  private.  She                                                               
deferred  further explanation  to the  current superintendent  of                                                               
the park.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:57:07 PM                                                                                                                    
PRESTON  KROES, Superintendent,  Southeast  Region, Alaska  State                                                               
Parks,  Department of  Natural Resources  (DNR), Juneau,  Alaska,                                                               
explained  that the  Funter Bay  Marine Park  was created  to set                                                               
aside state land for recreation  purposes. The state has a number                                                               
of state  marine parks but in  the Juneau area there  is St James                                                               
Bay, Taku Harbor,  Funter Bay, Pavlov Harbor, and  the 14 Channel                                                               
Islands in the Auke Bay area.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:58:11 PM                                                                                                                    
RICKY GEASE,  Director, Division  of State Parks  and Recreation,                                                               
Department  of  Natural   Resources,  Anchorage,  Alaska,  stated                                                               
support for HB 10 on behalf of  the division. He said it would be                                                               
easy  to  accept the  management  responsibility  for this  site,                                                               
which has  historical significance to  the state and  the culture                                                               
and memory of  the Unangax people. He related that  Mr. Kroes and                                                               
his staff  have been privileged to  work with a diverse  group of                                                               
organizations  and   individuals  on   ways  to   provide  better                                                               
management   and  protection   for   this  significant   cultural                                                               
resource.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:59:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  asked when the  request first  was made to  add the                                                               
cemetery to the  Funter Bay State Marine Park and  who brought it                                                               
forward.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:59:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KROES  answered that the  issue was brought to  his attention                                                               
shortly after  he became  superintendent 3.5  years ago.  At that                                                               
time  he learned  that Martin  Stepetin, whose  grandparents were                                                               
interned at Funter  Bay, already was working  with the division's                                                               
citizens  advisory group  on ways  to protect  the cemetery.  Mr.                                                               
Kroes related  that when he  looked at  the issue he  suggested a                                                               
possible solution to  provide protection was to  add the cemetery                                                               
to the existing state marine  park. He credited Mr. Stepetin with                                                               
trying to  get the site  designated a national landmark  and said                                                               
that  while  that was  unsuccessful  at  the  time, it  might  be                                                               
revisited in the future.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. KROES addressed  earlier questions. He advised  that the name                                                               
of the  park would  continue to  be the  Funter Bay  State Marine                                                               
Park and the cemetery would be  an historic site within the park.                                                               
He noted  that the division  was working with tribal  members and                                                               
elders  from  Saint  Paul  and   Saint  George  to  develop  four                                                               
interpretive  panels that  will  be placed  in  Funter Bay.  With                                                               
regard to the  question about funding and  improving the cemetery                                                               
area,  he clarified  that there  is  no funding  attached to  the                                                               
bill.  He expressed  hope  that funding  from  an existing  grant                                                               
program  could be  used to  reroute and  improve the  trail, make                                                               
improvements   to   the   cemetery  itself,   and   install   the                                                               
interpretive panels.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  thanked him  for the information  and asked  him to                                                               
consider whether  the stakeholders  might want  a formal  name in                                                               
statute for the cemetery.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:03:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES held HB 10 in committee for future consideration.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
           SB 81-VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER GRANTS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:04:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced  the consideration of SENATE  BILL NO. 81,                                                               
"An  Act requiring  background investigations  of village  public                                                               
safety  officer applicants  by the  Department of  Public Safety;                                                               
relating  to  the  village public  safety  officer  program;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  noted that the  proposed committee  substitute (CS)                                                               
for  SB  81  was  based  on  the  changes  the  sponsor's  office                                                               
recommended.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MYERS  moved to adopt  the CS for  SB 81, work  order 32-                                                               
LS0362\I, as the working document.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:04:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:05:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DONNY  OLSON, Alaska  State Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
sponsor  of SB  81, characterized  the legislation  as a  work in                                                               
progress  over  the last  several  years.  It would  require  the                                                               
Department  of   Public  Safety   (DPS)  to   conduct  background                                                               
investigations on VPSO applicants  and provide an effective date.                                                               
He deferred further comment to his staff, Mr. Truitt.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:05:48 PM                                                                                                                    
KEN   TRUITT,   Staff,   Senator  Donny   Olson,   Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature,  reminded  the  committee that  during  the  initial                                                               
hearing  on  SB  81,  he mentioned  that  the  stakeholders  were                                                               
interested in amending the original  bill to retain management of                                                               
the VPSO  Program grant  within the  Department of  Public Safety                                                               
(DPS) rather than transferring it  to the Department of Commerce,                                                               
Community and Economic Development (DCCED).  That is what the CS,                                                               
version I, accomplishes. He noted  that only the former Section 5                                                               
was  affected.  It  proposed an  amendment  to  DCCED's  enabling                                                               
statute to give  specific authority to that  department to manage                                                               
the  grant. That  section was  removed, and  the subsequent  four                                                               
sections were renumbered accordingly.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:07:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES found  no  questions or  comments  and removed  her                                                               
objection. Finding no further objection,  CSSB 81, version I, was                                                               
adopted as the working document.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:08:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced invited testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:08:18 PM                                                                                                                    
JASON WILSON, Manager, Public  Safety Department, Central Council                                                               
Tlingit  and  Haida  Indian Tribes  of  Alaska,  Juneau,  Alaska,                                                               
advised that he has been  the region's VPSO coordinator for about                                                               
16 years. He  related that Tlingit & Haida has  over 32,000 rural                                                               
tribal  citizens  throughout the  state,  many  of whom  live  in                                                               
communities that are  not connected to the road  system. They are                                                               
most accessible by boat or  plane. In these communities, the VPSO                                                               
program fills a  critical law enforcement need.  He reported that                                                               
Tlingit  & Haida  currently  has 10  VPSOs  located in  Hydaburg,                                                               
Saxman, Kake, Angoon, Pelican, Kasaan, and Thorn Bay.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILSON stated  support for SB 81 and thanked  the sponsor and                                                               
his staff for  their tireless work on the  legislation to provide                                                               
more  flexibility within  the VPSO  program  so coordinators  are                                                               
able  fill VPSO  positions and  get the  equipment that  officers                                                               
need to do  their job. He said the program  was developed in 1978                                                               
and many  of the statutes  and regulations governing  the program                                                               
have not been updated since then.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He   mentioned   the   importance   of   government-to-government                                                               
communication  and expressed  confidence  that SB  81 would  help                                                               
ensure that  funding for  the VPSO Program  does not  change with                                                               
each administration  and DPS commissioner. He  reiterated Tlingit                                                               
and Haida's  support for SB 81  and its commitment to  stand with                                                               
the state  to find  solutions to provide  public safety  to rural                                                               
communities in Alaska.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:15:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  NEMETH,  VPSO  Coordinator,  Aleutian  Pribilof  Islands                                                               
Association (APIA), Anchorage, Alaska, stated  that he has been a                                                               
certified village public  safety officer since 2002  and the VPSO                                                               
Coordinator for APIA for the past  nine years. He described SB 81                                                               
as  a bipartisan  boots-on-the-ground all  stakeholder effort  to                                                               
improve the VPSO Program.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He related that  the training requirement for VPSOs  under 13 AAC                                                               
96.100 of the  Alaska Administrative Code is 240  hours, which is                                                               
shamefully  low.  Officers  currently   receive  1,000  hours  of                                                               
training  at the  academy  as  well as  96  hours  of rural  fire                                                               
protection training, but an arbitrary  decision could reduce that                                                               
training to  the minimum. Additionally,  just some  VPSO programs                                                               
continue to provide emergency  trauma technician training because                                                               
it  is  no   longer  required.  This  change   was  made  without                                                               
consultation. He  said interpretation of the  code and regulation                                                               
has been  inconsistent and it  has affected the ability  of VPSOs                                                               
to do their job.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:18:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  NEMETH highlighted  that  SB 81  sets  the minimum  training                                                               
requirement to 826  hours, 650 hours of which  is law enforcement                                                               
training. This  is the minimum  that the Alaska  Police Standards                                                               
Council will accept for a  police officer in Alaska. He expressed                                                               
support  for   96  hours  of  rural   fire  protection  training,                                                               
reinstating  the   40  hours   of  emergency   trauma  technician                                                               
training, and 40  hours for search and rescue. He  noted that the                                                               
Alaska Law  Enforcement Training  Academy currently  devotes just                                                               
eight  hours to  search  and  rescue. He  said  the proposed  new                                                               
minimum training hours will give  VPSOs confidence to fulfill the                                                               
duties of the position, help  with recruitment and retention, and                                                               
improve the overall quality of the officer.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:21:21 PM                                                                                                                    
DARRELL  HILDEBRAND, VPSO  Coordinator,  Public Safety  Director,                                                               
Tanana  Chiefs  Conference,  Fairbanks, Alaska,  stated  that  he                                                               
retired as  an Alaska  State Trooper after  20 years  of service.                                                               
Tanana Chiefs Conference hired him  as the VPSO Coordinator about                                                               
18  months  ago.  He  stated  support for  SB  81  generally  and                                                               
specifically for the  flexibility to allow TCC  to utilize roving                                                               
VPSOs. He  noted that not  explicitly prohibited in  the previous                                                               
regulations, but  administrations viewed  the need to  budget for                                                               
them  differently.  SB   81  eliminates  the  fear   that  a  new                                                               
administration might withhold funding to  a grantee for using the                                                               
rover program.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. HILDEBRAND  highlighted the advantages of  roving VPSOs. They                                                               
serve   multiple   communities   with  less   manpower,   provide                                                               
continuity  of  service, and  provide  coverage  when the  Alaska                                                               
State Troopers (AST) cannot fly into  a village due to weather or                                                               
manpower issues. He  related that the TCC region  has 37 villages                                                               
with no public  safety presence except through  limited AST rural                                                               
visits.  The rover  program was  very effective  in the  past and                                                               
made it possible  for TCC to serve more  communities with limited                                                               
VPSOs.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He acknowledged the  perceived drawback to the  rover program was                                                               
that it  created a significant  increase in TCC's  travel budget.                                                               
However,  the  positive  outcomes  included  community  policing,                                                               
identification of  infrastructure needs such as  fire protection,                                                               
general  outreach, and  increased  law  enforcement presence.  He                                                               
said the relationship with AST  counterparts is strong, the rover                                                               
program has a  proven record, and it is the  best solution to the                                                               
high  demand and  need  for  VPSOs in  the  TCC  region that  has                                                               
limited law enforcement resources.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. HILDEBRAND thanked  the sponsor for introducing  SB 81, which                                                               
would allow TCC the flexibility  to utilize rover VPSOs to better                                                               
serve communities.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GRAY-JACKSON  asked  Mr.  Nemeth in  what  community  he                                                               
worked as a VPSO.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEMETH  answered  that  as  the  VPSO  Coordinator  for  the                                                               
Aleutian Pribilof  Island region he  is based in the  main office                                                               
in  Anchorage. He  noted  that as  an officer  he  served in  the                                                               
communities of Saint George and Nelson Lagoon.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:25:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked  if he supported the 826 hours  of training or                                                               
if he  was suggesting  changes. She noted  he specified  40 hours                                                               
for emergency medical services training.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEMETH  said having  the  826  hours  in  the bill  and  the                                                               
flexibility  to formulate  the training  as he  enumerated seemed                                                               
reasonable,  but   it  would  be  more   straightforward  it  was                                                               
specified in the bill.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:27:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  asked him to submit  the list to the  committee and                                                               
she would  provide it  to the sponsor  to have  the conversation.                                                               
The address is scra@akleg.gov.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  asked Mr. Hildebrand  if regional rover  VPSOs were                                                               
specifically mentioned in  the bill or if he  was suggesting they                                                               
be allowed.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:27:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  HILDEBRAND replied  the bill  does not  specifically mention                                                               
regional rovers, but  it allows grantees the  flexibility to work                                                               
with the program office ... [The call was dropped].                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked the sponsor if  the use of regional rovers was                                                               
a specific provision in the bill.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:28:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OLSON  answered it was  a good  idea. He deferred  to Mr.                                                               
Truitt  to  point to  the  location  in  the bill  that  provides                                                               
flexibility to use rovers.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:28:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TRUITT directed  attention to page 5, lines  4-10 that speaks                                                               
to one  VPSO per village and  the option for the  grant recipient                                                               
to  request more  than one.  He  said the  bill was  specifically                                                               
drafted  to  remove  the  prohibition  against  hiring  itinerant                                                               
roving VPSOs and make the practice acceptable.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  asked if he  was saying  that was addressed  in the                                                               
bill or if clarifying language was necessary.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT replied  he would  verify that  it was  addressed and                                                               
communicate the exact page and line.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:30:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON  commented on  her experience with  the VPSO                                                               
Program when  she was  the city  manager for  the City  of Akutan                                                               
from 2009-2012.  She thanked  the sponsor  for bringing  the bill                                                               
forward and noted that she was a co-sponsor.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked Mr. Truitt if he had closing comments.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:30:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TRUITT answered  the Chair's question about  roving VPSOs. He                                                               
read subsection (f) on page  5 and relayed that Legislative Legal                                                               
did not  use the  term "roving" based  on their  drafting manual.                                                               
Rather, the  provision refers to traveling  village public safety                                                               
officers  who  serve  multiple   villages  within  the  grantee's                                                               
region.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:31:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  him to  follow  up with  Mr. Hildebrand  and                                                               
relay that information.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:31:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES [held SB 81 in committee.]                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:32:12 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Hughes adjourned the Senate  Community and Regional Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee meeting at 4:32 p.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 10 Sponsor Statement 1.15.2021.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 Support Document-TDX.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 Support Letters 4.12.2021.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 V. A 4.12.2021.PDF SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 Land Status and Boundaries Map of Admiralty Island-Funter Bay 3.9.2021.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 PowerPoint Presentation 2.18.2021.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 Zero Fiscal Note HB010-DNR-PKS-03-05-2021.PDF SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 Sectional Analysis Version A 1.15.2021.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10
CSSB 81 v. I Legislation 4.27.21.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 81
CSSB 81 Version I Explanation of Changes 4.27.21.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 81
HB 10 Support Letter-Alaska Miners Association 4.27.21.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10
HB 10 Support Letter- Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company 4.27.21.pdf SCRA 4/27/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 10