Legislature(2021 - 2022)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

05/13/2021 03:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 46 LAW ENFORCEMENT: REGISTRY; USE OF FORCE TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
*+ SB 135 AK COMMUNITY HEALTH AIDE APPRECIATION DAY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 135 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 131 WORKERS' COMP DISABILITY FOR FIREFIGHTERS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 131 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+= SB 136 LIMITATIONS ON FIREARMS RESTRICTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+= SB 119 OATH OF OFFICE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 119(EDC) Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                          May 13, 2021                                                                                          
                           3:40 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Robert Myers, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator David Wilson                                                                                                            
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 136                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to firearms and other weapons restrictions."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 119                                                                                                             
"An  Act  relating  to  oaths of  office;  and  requiring  public                                                               
officers  to  read the  state  constitution,  the Declaration  of                                                               
Independence, and the United States Constitution."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 119(EDC) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 135                                                                                                             
"An  Act establishing  September  10 as  Alaska Community  Health                                                               
Aide Appreciation Day."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 135 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 131                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to  the presumption  of  compensability for  a                                                               
disability resulting from certain diseases for firefighters."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 131 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 46                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to  the   Alaska  Police  Standards  Council;                                                               
relating  to   municipal  correctional  officers   and  municipal                                                               
correctional employees; making  municipal police officers subject                                                               
to  police  standards;   establishing  a  statewide  use-of-force                                                               
database  in  the  Department  of   Public  Safety;  requiring  a                                                               
municipality that employs a person  as a municipal police officer                                                               
or  in  a  municipal  correctional facility,  the  Department  of                                                               
Corrections, or  the Department  of Public  Safety to  report for                                                               
inclusion in the database incidents of  use of force by state and                                                               
municipal  police, probation,  parole, and  correctional officers                                                               
and municipal correctional facility  employees; and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 136                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LIMITATIONS ON FIREARMS RESTRICTIONS                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MYERS                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
05/05/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/05/21       (S)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
05/11/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
05/11/21       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
05/13/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 119                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OATH OF OFFICE                                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) REINBOLD                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
04/07/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/07/21       (S)       EDC, JUD, STA, FIN                                                                                     
04/23/21       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/23/21       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/23/21       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
04/28/21       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/28/21       (S)       Moved CSSB 119(EDC) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/28/21       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
04/30/21       (S)       EDC RPT CS  4DP 1NR SAME TITLE                                                                         
04/30/21       (S)       DP: HOLLAND, HUGHES, STEVENS, MICCICHE                                                                 
04/30/21       (S)       NR: BEGICH                                                                                             
04/30/21       (S)       FIN REFERRAL REMOVED                                                                                   
04/30/21       (S)       CRA REFERRAL ADDED AFTER EDC                                                                           
05/11/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
05/11/21       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
05/13/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 135                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AK COMMUNITY HEALTH AIDE APPRECIATION DAY                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) KAWASAKI                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
05/03/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/03/21       (S)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
05/13/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 131                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WORKERS' COMP DISABILITY FOR FIREFIGHTERS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) HOLLAND                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
04/28/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/28/21       (S)       CRA, L&C                                                                                               
05/06/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
05/06/21       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/06/21       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
05/11/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
05/11/21       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
05/13/21       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MICHAELLA ANDERSON, Staff                                                                                                       
Senator Robert Myers                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of SB 136.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
AOIBHEANN CLINE, Northwest Regional Director                                                                                    
National Rifle Association                                                                                                      
Fairfax, Virginia                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 136.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ANNE CAULFIELD                                                                                                                  
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense America                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 136.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LUANN MCVEY, Member                                                                                                             
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense America                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 136.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ANN GIFFORD, representing self                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 136.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL FINDLAY, Director                                                                                                       
Government Relations-State Affairs                                                                                              
National Shooting Sports Foundation                                                                                             
Washington, DC                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 136.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CARRIE HANSON, Member                                                                                                           
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense America                                                                                        
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 136.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER KOPONEN, representing self                                                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 136.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LORA REINBOLD                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 119.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JOE HAYES, Staff                                                                                                                
Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SB 135 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TARYN HUGHES                                                                                                                    
Guardian Flight Alaska                                                                                                          
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 135.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JARED SHERMAN Vice President of Operations                                                                                      
Global Medical Response                                                                                                         
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 135.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER KOPONEN, representing self                                                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 135.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ROGER HOLLAND                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 131.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LORI WING-HEIR, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Insurance                                                                                                           
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions and  provided information                                                             
related to SB 131.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES COLLINS, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Workers' Compensation                                                                                               
Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD)                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions and  provided information                                                             
on SB 131.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:40:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHELLEY HUGHES  called the  Senate Community  and Regional                                                             
Affairs Standing Committee meeting to  order at 3:40 p.m. Present                                                               
at  the call  to order  were  Senators Wilson,  Myers, and  Chair                                                               
Hughes.  Senator Gray-Jackson  arrived during  the course  of the                                                               
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          SB 136-LIMITATIONS ON FIREARMS RESTRICTIONS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:42:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL NO. 136,                                                               
"An Act relating to firearms and other weapons restrictions."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:42:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ROBERT  MYERS, speaking  as sponsor,  stated that  SB 136                                                               
seeks  to clarify  what sort  of restrictions  can and  cannot be                                                               
imposed during a  disaster declaration on the ability  to own and                                                               
operate firearms. He  noted that this issue came  up in Anchorage                                                               
in the context  of essential services. The  bill effectively says                                                               
that  a state  agency  or  municipality may  not  use a  disaster                                                               
declaration  as the  basis for  imposing new  firearms rules.  He                                                               
deferred further introduction to his staff, Michaella Anderson.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:44:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAELLA  ANDERSON, Staff,  Senator Robert  Myers, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, reported  that seven states mandated                                                               
the  complete or  partial closure  of firearms  stores or  ranges                                                               
during  the pandemic  because they  were deemed  nonessential. SB
136 seeks to prevent that from happening in Alaska.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
She referred  to the sponsor  statement for  SB 136 that  read as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Governors of the  United States may declare  a state of                                                                    
     emergency   in  the   event   of   a  disaster.   These                                                                    
     declarations generally provide  expansive police powers                                                                    
     to  regulate  states  during  emergency  situations  to                                                                    
     protect  the  public  health and  safety.  While  these                                                                    
     police  powers   are  usually  granted  by   the  state                                                                    
     constitution,  state statutes  clarify  and define  the                                                                    
     extent  of the  emergency authority  granted during  an                                                                    
     emergency  declaration.  Thus, state  legislatures  can                                                                    
     create reasonable  regulations to define  and establish                                                                    
     the restrictions  on constitutional rights that  may or                                                                    
     may not be justified in times of emergency.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     It is the  goal of SB 136 to clarify  the extent of the                                                                    
     emergency   authority  granted   during  an   emergency                                                                    
     declaration in  regard to the  Second Amendment  and to                                                                    
     prevent the  unnecessary infringements on the  right to                                                                    
     keep   and  bear   arms.   SB   136  establishes   that                                                                    
     notwithstanding a declaration  of a disaster emergency,                                                                    
     neither the state or a  municipal agency may not forbid                                                                    
     the possession,  use or transfer of  a firearm, firearm                                                                    
     accessory,  ammunition, or  other  weapon for  personal                                                                    
     use.  In addition,  SB 136  also  establishes that  the                                                                    
     closure  and limitation  of commerce  under the  police                                                                    
     powers of the  governor must be equally  applied to all                                                                    
     forms of  commerce, and prevents undue  restrictions of                                                                    
     businesses   associated   with  firearms   and   public                                                                    
     shooting range facilities.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     It is the duty of  the state legislature to clarify the                                                                    
     extent    of   the    emergency   authority    granting                                                                    
     restrictions   on  constitutional   rights  during   an                                                                    
     emergency  declaration. SB  136 provides  clarification                                                                    
     that  neither  the  state  or  municipal  agencies  may                                                                    
     unnecessarily infringe  upon Alaskan citizens  right to                                                                    
     keep and bear arms.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:45:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANDERSON summarized the sectional analysis for SB 136 that                                                                  
read as follows:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1.                                                                                                               
     Adds new sections to Article 5 of AS 44.99.                                                                                
        a) Establishes that notwithstanding a disaster                                                                          
             emergency declared under AS 26.23.020, a state                                                                     
             or municipal agency may not impose the                                                                             
             following:                                                                                                         
               a.  Forbid the  possession, use,  or transfer                                                                    
                  of  a   firearm,   a  firearm   accessory,                                                                    
                  ammunition, or  other weapon  for personal                                                                    
                  use.                                                                                                          
               b.  Order the  seizure or  confiscation of  a                                                                    
                  firearm, a firearm  accessory, ammunition,                                                                    
                  or other weapon for personal use.                                                                             
               c.   Limit  the   quantity  or   place  other                                                                    
                  restrictions on  the  sale  or service  of                                                                    
                  firearms, firearm accessories, ammunition,                                                                    
                  or other weapons for personal use.                                                                            
               d. Unless  the closure or  limitation applies                                                                    
                  equally to  all forms  of commerce  within                                                                    
                  the  jurisdiction,  close  or   limit  the                                                                    
                  operating hours of the following:                                                                             
                    i. An entity engaged in the sale or                                                                         
                       service    of    firearms,    firearm                                                                    
                       accessories, ammunition, or other                                                                        
                       weapons for personal use, or                                                                             
                    ii. An indoor or outdoor shooting                                                                           
                       range.                                                                                                   
               e.  Suspend or  revoke  a permit  to carry  a                                                                    
                  concealed   handgun   issued    under   AS                                                                    
                  18.65.700,  except   as  provided   in  AS                                                                    
                  18.65.735 and 18.65.740; or                                                                                   
               f. Refuse  to accept an application  to carry                                                                    
                  a   concealed   handgun,    provided   the                                                                    
                  application   contains   the   information                                                                    
                  required under AS 18.65.710.                                                                                  
        b) Establishes that this section does not apply to                                                                      
             the  possession   of  a   firearm,  a   firearm                                                                    
             accessory, ammunition,  or  other  weapon by  a                                                                    
             person   who   is   prohibited   from   legally                                                                    
             possessing  a  firearm,  a  firearm  accessory,                                                                    
             ammunition, or other weapon under state law.                                                                       
        c) Establishes that a person may bring a civil                                                                          
             action in superior court if the person is                                                                          
             adversely affected by a violation of (a) of                                                                        
             this section, and the person is the following:                                                                     
               a.  Qualified under  state law  to possess  a                                                                    
                  firearm, a firearm  accessory, ammunition,                                                                    
                  or other weapon; or                                                                                           
               b.  A membership  organization consisting  of                                                                    
                  two or more individuals eligible under (1)                                                                    
                  of this  subsection that  is dedicated  in                                                                    
                  whole or in part to the  protection of the                                                                    
                  rights of persons who possess or use                                                                          
                  firearms or other weapons.                                                                                    
        d) Notwithstanding AS 09.17.020(f) - (h), a                                                                             
             prevailing plaintiff under (c)  of this section                                                                    
             may recover.                                                                                                       
               a. The greater amount of actual economic                                                                         
                  damages or punitive damages in the amount                                                                     
                  of three times the plaintiff's attorney                                                                       
                  fees.                                                                                                         
               b. Court costs; and                                                                                              
               c. Attorney fees.                                                                                                
        e) Defines "State or Municipal Agency" to include                                                                       
             the  following:  University  of   Alaska  or  a                                                                    
             department,  institution,   board,  commission,                                                                    
             division, council, committee, authority, public                                                                    
             corporation,    school    district,    regional                                                                    
             educational   attendance    area,   or    other                                                                    
             administrative unit of a municipality or of the                                                                    
             executive, judicial,  or legislative  branch of                                                                    
             state government,  and  includes  employees  of                                                                    
             those entities.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2.                                                                                                               
     Repeals AS 44.99.500(g)(1) which is the definition of                                                                      
     a firearm accessory.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON advised  that the definition of  a firearm accessory                                                               
is in the new Sec. 44.99.595.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:46:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  recalled that  when the  governor issued  a mandate                                                               
early in the  pandemic that closed all  but essential businesses,                                                               
marijuana shops and alcohol venders  were allowed to remain open,                                                               
but places  that sold firearms  had to  close. She asked  if that                                                               
mandate was statewide at least for a while.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:47:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MYERS  offered his  understanding  that  when the  state                                                               
listed essential  businesses, hunting  and fishing  supply stores                                                               
were deemed essential  and were allowed to  remain open. However,                                                               
the  definitions   were  not  consistently  interpreted   in  the                                                               
implementation.  For  example,  to  be classified  as  a  hunting                                                               
supply store,  a certain square  footage of  the store had  to be                                                               
dedicated to firearms and firearms  materials such as ammunition.                                                               
Stores  that sold  firearms exclusively  were  allowed to  remain                                                               
open but stores  such as Cabela's and  Sportsman's Warehouse were                                                               
ordered to close by the municipality.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MYERS  said  multiple   complaints  were  filed  against                                                               
multiple  stores   that  did   not  close   and  each   time  the                                                               
municipality contacted the  store and came to  resolution. SB 136                                                               
would flip the  burden of proof and instead of  a store having to                                                               
prove to  a municipality that  it was  allowed to stay  open, the                                                               
municipality would be required to prove  to the store that it had                                                               
to close.  The bill states that  a store that sells  firearms may                                                               
be closed if the closure applies  to all forms of commerce in the                                                               
jurisdiction.  He cited  the example  of a  Sportsman's Warehouse                                                               
and a  Target located next  to each  other; they are  either both                                                               
open or both closed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:49:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  summarized  that  it  was  a  state  mandate  that                                                               
municipalities   interpreted  differently.   She  asked   if  the                                                               
Municipality  of Anchorage  was  the only  entity  that used  the                                                               
different interpretation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MYERS replied the Municipality  of Anchorage was the only                                                               
one his office heard about.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES referenced the language  in paragraph (4) on page 1,                                                               
lines 13-14 and  asked him to confirm that this  does not address                                                               
essential  versus nonessential  businesses. It  is that  closures                                                               
would apply uniformly to all commerce in the jurisdiction.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MYERS answered that is correct.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES turned to invited testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:50:47 PM                                                                                                                    
AOIBHEANN  CLINE,  Northwest  Regional Director,  National  Rifle                                                               
Association (NRA),  Fairfax, Virginia, on  behalf of the  tens of                                                               
thousands of  NRA members in  Alaska, spoke in strong  support of                                                               
SB 136. She stated the  Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution                                                               
and Art. I,  Sec. 19 of the Alaska Constitution  provide that the                                                               
right  of  the  people  to  keep  and  bear  arms  shall  not  be                                                               
infringed.  SB 136  aims to  protect that  right by  preventing a                                                               
state or municipal  agency from limiting these rights  based on a                                                               
disaster declaration. She  said the bill is a  response to events                                                               
stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. CLINE  maintained the  COVID-19 pandemic  negatively affected                                                               
Anchorage  based  businesses  under  the  municipality's  "Hunker                                                               
Down" Emergency Order EO-03. The  issue was centered in Anchorage                                                               
during  this pandemic,  but the  NRA believes  that without  this                                                               
legislation any municipality  could be next. SB  136 ensures that                                                               
firearm  related businesses,  shooting ranges,  and the  right to                                                               
keep  and  bear  arms  are  not  unjustly  singled  out  for  any                                                               
political reason. She  cited District of Columbia  v. Heller, 554                                                               
U.S.  570  in  which  the   United  States  Supreme  Court  found                                                               
mandatory  storage  locking  requirements  were  unconstitutional                                                               
because it  rendered firearms impossible  to operate in  order to                                                               
exercise the core Second Amendment right of self-defense.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. CLINE  described SB  136 as a  narrowly tailored  solution to                                                               
the  specific  problem  of  restrictions  on  firearms  under  an                                                               
emergency declaration and urged support.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:54:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES opened public testimony on SB 136.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:54:27 PM                                                                                                                    
ANNE CAULFIELD,  Volunteer, Moms Demand  Action for Gun  Sense in                                                               
America, Juneau,  Alaska, stated  that as a  mother, grandmother,                                                               
and retired  school counselor  she was  deeply concerned  that SB
136 would restrict public universities  and school districts from                                                               
setting   firearm  policies.   It   would   also  prevent   local                                                               
authorities from  intervening to  temporarily restrict  access to                                                               
firearms for a person at risk for suicide or domestic violence.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
She relayed that  as a school counselor she  worked with children                                                               
daily who were exposed to  domestic violence including the deadly                                                               
situations when  a firearm  was involved. This  is a  reality for                                                               
many  children.  She said  children  who  witness family  members                                                               
killed  or seriously  injured by  firearms are  affected by  this                                                               
trauma their entire lives. She  emphasized that such tragedy does                                                               
not  need  to  happen  if  law enforcement  is  able  to  take  a                                                               
reasonable  approach   to  temporarily  restrict   firearms  when                                                               
someone is in danger of hurting themselves or others.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. CAULFIELD  offered her belief that  Juneau's local officials,                                                               
mayors, and police chiefs were  best equipped to understand local                                                               
crime and how to best address  it. She urged the committee to not                                                               
take away  their ability  to keep all  citizens safe  and instead                                                               
ensure that Alaska has safe communities.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:56:44 PM                                                                                                                    
LUANN  MCVEY,  Member,  Moms  Demand  Action  for  Gun  Sense  in                                                               
America, Douglas, Alaska, echoed  the testimony of Anne Caulfield                                                               
as  a  mother,  grandmother,  and  retired  teacher.  She  stated                                                               
opposition to SB  136 and pointed out that the  state already has                                                               
a  strong  preemption  law  that  keeps  local  authorities  from                                                               
overriding   the  state   policy  on   firearm  regulation.   She                                                               
questioned  the  reason  for  narrowing  that  law  and  stopping                                                               
schools and other entities from  protecting against gun violence.                                                               
She said young  people use alcohol, sometimes to  excess, and the                                                               
resulting increased aggression and  impaired judgement may affect                                                               
a decision  about whether to  use a gun  to solve a  problem. She                                                               
emphasized that guns do not  belong on college campuses and state                                                               
legislatures should not  make colleges less safe  by limiting the                                                               
ability of a university to set firearms policy.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MCVEY  cited  the findings  of  the  nonprofit  organization                                                               
Everytown  for  Gun  Safety,  which found  that  for  20  million                                                               
students attending  colleges and  universities, an average  of 10                                                               
homicides occur  each year. She  said having more guns  on campus                                                               
increases the likelihood  of more shootings but is  not likely to                                                               
prevent  mass  shootings. She  emphasized  that  SB 136  was  not                                                               
needed and urged the committee to hold the bill in committee.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:58:48 PM                                                                                                                    
ANN GIFFORD, representing self, Juneau,  Alaska, stated she was a                                                               
retired attorney  who had  personal experience  with some  of the                                                               
issues SB 136  addresses because of past work  with Alaska school                                                               
districts  and  local governments.  She  described  SB 136  as  a                                                               
poorly  thought out  bill  that would  establish  bad policy  and                                                               
create legal  chaos. She  highlighted that  the sponsor  said the                                                               
bill is  to ensure that  state and  local agencies do  not create                                                               
new firearm  rules during an  emergency, but the language  in the                                                               
bill  is  much broader.  It  essentially  seeks to  prohibit  any                                                               
municipality,  school district,  or  university or  any state  or                                                               
local agency from  regulating the use or possession  of a firearm                                                               
in  any way.  She pointed  out that  this conflicts  with several                                                               
existing  laws. Like  other constitutional  rights, the  right to                                                               
bear arms  is not unlimited  because guns  do not belong  in some                                                               
places. She pointed  out that Alaska courts and  the U.S. Supreme                                                               
Court have long recognized that  it is legitimate for governments                                                               
to restrict carrying of guns  in sensitive places such as schools                                                               
and government buildings.  She pointed out that  emotions can run                                                               
high when  people talk to  the legislature or local  assembly and                                                               
they can  also run high in  schools over grades and  treatment by                                                               
other  students. Removing  guns from  these places  helps protect                                                               
everyone in  these facilities. She  further pointed out  that the                                                               
kinds of  places and occasions  where guns should not  be allowed                                                               
can vary so what makes sense  in Anchorage may not be appropriate                                                               
in  Sitka.  She  expressed  hope that  the  committee  would  not                                                               
approve  SB  136  that  removes  all local  control  on  such  an                                                               
important topic.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:00:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON joined the committee meeting.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:01:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  FINDLAY, Director,  Government Relations-State  Affairs,                                                               
National  Shooting  Sports  Foundation  (NSSF),  Washington,  DC,                                                               
stated   that   NSSF   is  the   trade   association   for   most                                                               
manufacturers, retailers,  and gun  ranges in  the nation  and he                                                               
was speaking  in strong  support of  SB 136.  He said  that after                                                               
listening  to  the  opposition   testimony,  he  believes  it  is                                                               
important  to  distinguish  that  SB  136  is  about  limiting  a                                                               
governor's ability  to deem the firearm  industry as nonessential                                                               
in  a crisis.  During the  pandemic NSSF  saw that  for political                                                               
reasons some  governors decided not  to follow the  guidance from                                                               
the  White   House.  Gun  ranges,  retailers,   and  the  firearm                                                               
manufacturing industry were deemed  essential, but these were not                                                               
always included in governor declarations.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. FINDLAY  maintained that SB  136 simply says that  a governor                                                               
may not treat  the Second Amendment as  nonessential. Thus people                                                               
should be  afforded the opportunity  to exercise these  rights to                                                               
protect  their families  during  times of  crisis.  On behalf  of                                                               
NSSF, he reiterated strong support for SB 136.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:03:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CARRIE HANSON,  Volunteer, Moms  Demand Action  for Gun  Sense in                                                               
America, Soldotna, Alaska, stated that  as a lifelong Alaskan who                                                               
has witnessed many instances when  guns were not used responsibly                                                               
she was  testifying to ask  the committee  to oppose SB  136. She                                                               
said  too many  Alaskans die  each  year from  gun homicide,  gun                                                               
suicide,  or unintentional  shootings. She  pointed out  that the                                                               
state has the highest rate of  gun deaths in the country and that                                                               
over 66  percent of the gun  deaths in the state  are by suicide.                                                               
This  is  more than  double  the  national average.  She  further                                                               
pointed out that guns are the  leading cause of death for Alaskan                                                               
children and teens  and that 2010 to 2019 the  rate of gun deaths                                                               
in Alaska increased more than 19 percent.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. HANSON  said it  is clear  that the gun  crisis in  Alaska is                                                               
getting worse and the legislature  should respond with reasonable                                                               
steps  to  lower the  rate  of  gun  deaths. However,  a  blanket                                                               
preemption is not  necessary because there is already  a law that                                                               
governs  the  municipal  regulation  of firearms.  She  cited  an                                                               
instance in  Soldotna two  years ago  when a  man unintentionally                                                               
discharged his  weapon while in a  coffee shop and hit  his wife.                                                               
She emphasized that guns do not  belong in every public place and                                                               
note that states  that have allowed guns on  college campuses now                                                               
struggle with the safety and  economic consequences. She said the                                                               
fact  that insurance  companies view  guns  on campus  as a  huge                                                               
liability  helps  explain why  they  are  not  a good  idea.  She                                                               
highlighted  that a  guns on  campus  bill in  West Virginia  was                                                               
estimated  to  cost  $11  million to  implement,  and  asked  the                                                               
committee to refrain from passing SB 136 from committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:06:33 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER  KOPONEN, representing  self,  Fairbanks, Alaska,  stated                                                               
appreciation for  the testimony  opposing SB 136  from Caulfield,                                                               
McVey, Gifford, and Hanson and  offered her belief that it should                                                               
be  weighted more  heavily  than testimony  from  Cline with  the                                                               
National  Rifle   Association  and  Findlay  with   the  National                                                               
Shooting Sports  Foundation because they profit  financially from                                                               
passage of  the legislation. She  refuted the claim  that firearm                                                               
stores  are essential  business. While  it may  be essential  for                                                               
somebody who  is hunting to be  able to buy ammunition,  she said                                                               
it is not essential to make  money from weapons that cause severe                                                               
injury and death. She said the  bill is more about broadening the                                                               
strength  of  gun   lobbyists  and  her  belief   is  that  their                                                               
interpretation of  Second Amendment rights  in the context  of SB
136 is dubious. She urged the committee not to hold the bill.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:08:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  closed public testimony  on SB 136.  She encouraged                                                               
any   interested    party   to   send   written    testimony   to                                                               
scra@akleg.gov.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES held SB 136 in committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                     SB 119-OATH OF OFFICE                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:09:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced  the consideration of SENATE  BILL NO. 119                                                               
"An  Act  relating  to  oaths of  office;  and  requiring  public                                                               
officers  to  read the  state  constitution,  the Declaration  of                                                               
Independence, and the United States Constitution."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
[CSSB 119(EDC) was before the committee.]                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:09:40 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:10:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES reconvened  the meeting  and asked  the sponsor  to                                                               
introduce the bill.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:10:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR LORA REINBOLD, Alaska  State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
sponsor of  SB 119, stated the  purpose of the bill  is to ensure                                                               
the  founding  documents  of  this  country  are  not  taken  for                                                               
granted.   It   requires   Alaskans  who   are   statutorily   or                                                               
constitutionally required to take an  oath of office in the state                                                               
to  sign a  statement  that  they have  read  the Declaration  of                                                               
Independence, the U.S. Constitution,  and the Constitution of the                                                               
State of Alaska.  These sworn statements would be  filed with the                                                               
municipal clerk in the appropriate jurisdiction.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
She suggested Senator Hughes may  want to discuss the change made                                                               
in the Education Committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:11:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES   explained  that  school  boards   were  initially                                                               
included  and  the  previous   committee  determined  that  other                                                               
municipal officials should be included.  For that reason the bill                                                               
picked up a referral to this committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:12:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  opened public  testimony on  SB 119;  finding none,                                                               
she closed  public testimony. She advised  that written testimony                                                               
would be accepted at scra@akleg.gov.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:12:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MYERS  asked if she  believes people are not  reading and                                                               
paying attention  to these foundational  documents or if it  is a                                                               
matter of differing interpretations.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD offered  her belief  that  all students  should                                                               
read the Declaration  of Independence in order  to understand all                                                               
the  grievances in  the early  days of  this country.  She opined                                                               
that   understanding   the    grievances   provides   a   greater                                                               
appreciation for civil  liberties and the Bill of  Rights. At the                                                               
very least, it is a good refresher, she said.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:13:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES solicited the will of the committee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:14:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MYERS  moved to  report SB  119, work  order 32-LS0163\G,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note(s).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:14:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WILSON  objected  to  ask  if the  intent  was  for  the                                                               
relevant  individuals  to  read  the constitution  with  all  the                                                               
amendments or just the original constitution.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:14:44 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  replied the  intent is  for the  individuals to                                                               
read   the  entire   U.S.   Constitution,   the  Declaration   of                                                               
Independence, and  the Constitution of  the State of  Alaska. She                                                               
noted that the statutes for  the different officials were written                                                               
at different times and SB 119 conforms the platform.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   HUGHES  offered   her  understanding   that  the   common                                                               
definition  of  the state  and  U.S.  constitutions includes  the                                                               
amendments. In response to Senator  Myers' question, she surmised                                                               
that some  people do not  read these  documents but they  will if                                                               
they  have to  sign that  they did  so. She  noted that  the next                                                               
committee of referral was the Judiciary Committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:15:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON removed his objection.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:15:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  found no  further objection  and CSSB  119(EDC) was                                                               
reported from the Senate Community  and Regional Affairs Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:16:01 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
        SB 135-AK COMMUNITY HEALTH AIDE APPRECIATION DAY                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:18:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   HUGHES  reconvened   the   meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration  of  SENATE  BILL  NO.  135  "An  Act  establishing                                                               
September 10 as Alaska Community Health Aide Appreciation Day."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:18:31 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE   HAYES,  Staff,   Senator  Scott   Kawasaki,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, presented SB  135 on behalf  of the                                                               
sponsor.  He  read  the  following  sponsor  statement  into  the                                                               
record:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act  establishing September 10 as  Alaska Community                                                                    
     Health Aide Appreciation Day."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Senate  Bill  135  aims  to  recognize  and  honor  the                                                                    
     exemplary   work   of   Community   Health   Aides   by                                                                    
     proclaiming  September 10  as  Alaska Community  Health                                                                    
     Aide  Appreciation   Day.  This  date  was   chosen  to                                                                    
     commemorate the  first Planning and  Advisory Committee                                                                    
     meeting for Health Aide Programs  in Alaska, which took                                                                    
     place on September 10, 1973.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The work of  the Community Health Aide  is tireless. In                                                                    
     the  communities they  serve,  they  act as  round-the-                                                                    
     clock    first     responders,    clinicians,    travel                                                                    
     coordinators,  hospitalists, tribal  liaisons, and  are                                                                    
     often  role models  within  their  home regions.  Since                                                                    
     before  statehood,  Health  Aides  have  organized  and                                                                    
     played an  integral role  in maintaining  tribal health                                                                    
     and  community safety.  They are  often  related to  or                                                                    
     close to  their patients  and bring to  their positions                                                                    
     an  abiding  respect   for  traditional  knowledge  and                                                                    
     culture.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Recently,  Community  Health  Aides have  been  on  the                                                                    
     front  lines of  the  fight against  COVID-19 in  rural                                                                    
     Alaska and  have been  key to  ensuring the  success of                                                                    
     vaccination  efforts in  remote  communities that  lack                                                                    
     advanced  healthcare  services.  It is  more  important                                                                    
     than  ever that  we  acknowledge  our Community  Health                                                                    
     Aides for  their broad scope  of practice  and selfless                                                                    
     contributions  to their  communities, regions,  and the                                                                    
     state. For these reasons, I  urge the passage of Senate                                                                    
     Bill 135.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:21:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HAYES reviewed  the evolution of the CHA  Program outlined on                                                               
slide 3.  He said the Alaska  Health Aid Program dates  to before                                                               
statehood   when   trained   local  Alaskans   helped   fight   a                                                               
tuberculosis outbreak.  The Alaska Native Health  Service started                                                               
formal  CHA  training  efforts  in  the  1960s  and  the  program                                                               
received federal  recognition and congressional funding  in 1968.                                                               
The  first planning  and advisory  committee  meeting for  health                                                               
aide programs in Alaska was held  on September 10, 1973. He noted                                                               
the  date for  the  Community Health  Aide  Appreciation Day  was                                                               
chosen to  commemorate this historic  event. Later in  the 1970s,                                                               
Congress  approved  funding  for additional  CHA  positions.  The                                                               
federal  government created  the  Community  Health Aide  Program                                                               
Certification Board in  1998 and charged it  with formalizing the                                                               
process  for  maintaining  community health  aides  and  training                                                               
centers. The  program expanded between  2001 and 2009  to include                                                               
dental and behavioral health aides.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:21:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HAYES stated  the Alaska Tribal Health System  (ATHS) is made                                                               
up  of about  37  tribal health  organizations  that have  signed                                                               
agreements to  manage the health  care facility under  the Alaska                                                               
Area  Native  Health  Service  of   the  Indian  Health  Service.                                                               
Community health aides work within  this system. They function as                                                               
part of  a regional team  to assess and provide  emergent, acute,                                                               
and  chronic  medical  care in  remote  Alaska  communities.  The                                                               
community  selects its  provider who  then attends  four training                                                               
sessions each  of which lasts  three to four weeks.  The training                                                               
centers are  located in Anchorage,  Nome, Bethel,  and Fairbanks.                                                               
The 550  health aide practitioners  in more than  170 communities                                                               
form  the backbone  of the  health care  system in  rural Alaska,                                                               
incorporating local and traditional knowledge into their care.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:24:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HAYES displayed  the Alaska map on slide 7  to illustrate the                                                               
size and scope  of the "Hub & Spoke" referral  pattern for health                                                               
care. This model  is designed to keep health care  close to home.                                                               
Each spoke radiates to individual  communities and clinics from a                                                               
regional   hub   that    has   hospital   services,   multi-level                                                               
practitioners, and  physicians. Throughout the  COVID-19 pandemic                                                               
CHAs  worked  tirelessly   and  at  great  risk   to  keep  their                                                               
communities  safe and  to ensure  the successful  distribution of                                                               
the vaccine throughout Alaska.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HAYES  named the  individuals  the  sponsor had  invited  to                                                               
testify.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:26:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  shared that her  husband appreciated  the community                                                               
health  aide model.  Early in  his career  he worked  through the                                                               
Yukon-Kuskokwim  Health Corporation  supervising health  aides in                                                               
50 villages and  providing patient care when  he visited clinics.                                                               
She asked if  Alaska was still the only state  that has community                                                               
health aides.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HAYES answered  he would do follow up research  but as far as                                                               
he knows, Alaska is the only state that uses the CHA model.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   HUGHES  offered   her  understanding   that  Alaska   was                                                               
pioneering the  well-deserved community health  aide appreciation                                                               
day.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
She announced invited testimony on SB 135.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:28:14 PM                                                                                                                    
TARYN HUGHES,  Guardian Flight Alaska, Fairbanks,  Alaska, stated                                                               
she learned that  community health aides are a  vital resource to                                                               
Alaska's health care system when she  lived and worked in the Tok                                                               
region for about  10 years. Their scope of work  is both physical                                                               
and  emotional. For  example, a  health aide  performed CPR  on a                                                               
patient for four hours waiting  for weather conditions to improve                                                               
so the medivac  plane could land safely. The  patient happened to                                                               
be her  great uncle.  She highlighted  that the  community health                                                               
aide  model,  which was  pioneered  in  Alaska,  is moving  to  a                                                               
national  platform. She  confirmed the  Chair's observation  that                                                               
this would  be the first  state-sanctioned community  health aide                                                               
appreciation  day in  the nation.  She noted  some Alaska  health                                                               
aides  and trainers  currently  serve on  a  national board.  She                                                               
expressed hope that in addition  to the national nurse's week and                                                               
the national  EMS week,  that there would  someday be  a national                                                               
health  aide week.  She concluded  that  passing SB  135 sends  a                                                               
clear  message  to community  health  aides  that their  role  in                                                               
ensuring  the  health  and  safety of  their  communities  is  as                                                               
important as the nurses and paramedics they work alongside.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:30:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES mentioned the national  movement and asked if states                                                               
other than Alaska  were allowing health aides to  work in medical                                                               
settings.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUGHES answered  yes; her understanding is  that the national                                                               
board is working with tribal  health organizations to implement a                                                               
model of  health aide  training that  is similar  or the  same as                                                               
Alaska's.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:31:24 PM                                                                                                                    
JARED  SHERMAN  Vice  President  of  Operations,  Global  Medical                                                               
Response, Palmer,  Alaska, stated  GMR is  the parent  company of                                                               
Guardian  Flight Alaska.  He shared  his experience  traveling to                                                               
villages  in the  Yukon-Kuskokwim area  as  a boy  and later  for                                                               
work. During these  visits he would walk through  the clinics but                                                               
he never  appreciated what a vital  link they were to  the health                                                               
care  system. It  was not  until he  joined the  medivac industry                                                               
about 10  years ago that he  began to recognize that  health care                                                               
is local and health aides are a key piece of the system.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHERMAN said health aides  reported going into people's homes                                                               
earlier this  year instead of  seeing them  in the clinics  in an                                                               
effort to keep  the clinics COVID-19 free and  to reduce exposure                                                               
to the  rest of the community.  This is just one  illustration of                                                               
their commitment. He  stated support for health  aides in Alaska;                                                               
every medivac  Guardian completes out of  Alaskan villages starts                                                               
with the  health aide.  They are  a key piece  and their  work is                                                               
vital. He stated support for SB 135.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES   asked  Mr.  Hayes   if  community   health  aides                                                               
administered the vaccine during the pandemic.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:33:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HAYES answered yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES clarified  for the  record that  while the  sponsor                                                               
statement  mentioned that  health  aides  serve as  hospitalists,                                                               
that term refers to physicians who work in hospitals.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:34:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES opened public testimony on SB 135.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:35:15 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER KOPONEN, representing  self, Fairbanks, Alaska, described                                                               
community health aides as heroes  who save lives, heal, and offer                                                               
comfort.  She shared  that  she is  a  physician's assistant  who                                                               
trained CHAs  and EMTs  but she is  most proud of  her work  as a                                                               
community  health  aid. She  said  most  health aides  offer  the                                                               
highest level  of medical care  available in their  community and                                                               
do  all  aspects of  care  from  reception to  exam,  laboratory,                                                               
diagnosis,    dispensing     appropriate    patient    education,                                                               
vaccinations,   dispensing  medications   in  consultation   with                                                               
physicians   and  mid-level   practitioners,  sutures,   adaptive                                                               
equipment  and  splints,  providing  IVs,  EKGs,  defibrillation,                                                               
oxygenation and other forms of  stabilization. They can be in the                                                               
clinic  for  hours  in preparation  for  emergency  transport  to                                                               
hospitals.  She said  health aides,  many of  whom are  community                                                               
health practitioners,  are on call 24  hours a day, seven  days a                                                               
week, often for weeks or months on end without respite.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOPONEN   reported  community  health  aides   live  in  the                                                               
communities they  serve and  are held to  high moral  and medical                                                               
standards. It can be a  difficult job and require sacrifices. She                                                               
reiterated CHAs are heroes and  establishing the Alaska Community                                                               
Health Aide Appreciation Day is appropriate.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:38:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES closed  public testimony on SB 135  and advised that                                                               
written  testimony could  be sent  to scra@akleg.gov.  Finding no                                                               
questions or comments, she asked the will of the committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:38:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MYERS  moved to  report SB  135, work  order 32-LS0898\A,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note(s).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:38:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES found no objection and  SB 135 was reported from the                                                               
Senate Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:39:00 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
        SB 131-WORKERS' COMP DISABILITY FOR FIREFIGHTERS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:41:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   HUGHES  reconvened   the   meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration of  SENATE BILL  NO. 131, "An  Act relating  to the                                                               
presumption  of compensability  for a  disability resulting  from                                                               
certain diseases for firefighters."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
She noted  who was  available to answer  questions and  asked the                                                               
sponsor if he had any comments.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:42:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ROGER HOLLAND, Alaska  State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
sponsor  of  SB  131,  stated  that being  a  firefighter  is  an                                                               
inherently dangerous  career. He  reported that between  2002 and                                                               
2019, 66  percent of the  line-of-duty deaths were  attributed to                                                               
some form  of cancer. SB  131 seeks to  add breast cancer  to the                                                               
statutory   list   of   presumptive   causes   of   disease   for                                                               
firefighters.   The  disease   is  not   gender  specific;   male                                                               
firefighters are  7.5 times more  likely to die of  breast cancer                                                               
than a male  who does not work as a  firefighter. He acknowledged                                                               
that this would  not resolve all the issues  with the presumptive                                                               
coverage laws for firefighters, but said it is a good start.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:43:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  asked if he had  had read the letter  of opposition                                                               
from  the  Alaska  Municipal  League  Insurance  Joint  Insurance                                                               
Association.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:44:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HOLLAND answered no.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  summarized that APEI  said the bill  could increase                                                               
the  cost to  municipalities  and that  regular health  insurance                                                               
provides coverage.  She offered  her understanding that  the bill                                                               
was not expected  to result in increased costs  and suggested Ms.                                                               
Wing-Heier clarify the record.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:44:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HOLLAND explained  that workers'  compensation insurance                                                               
covers the  nine presumptive causes  of disease  for firefighters                                                               
as   well  as   other  work-related   hazards.  He   relayed  his                                                               
understanding  that  if  there  were an  increase,  it  would  be                                                               
minimal.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:45:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked  him to speak to the point  in the letter that                                                               
the bill removes the burden of proof.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HOLLAND replied  Chief  Benningfield spoke  to the  fact                                                               
that  the  burden  of  proof  is a  high  bar.  Firefighters  are                                                               
required  to  have an  initial  physical  examination and  annual                                                               
examinations for  seven years thereafter  all of which  must show                                                               
no sign  of breast cancer. SB  131 does not address  any of that;                                                               
it  simply adds  breast cancer  to the  list of  nine presumptive                                                               
causes he said.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:46:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON  thanked the sponsor  for the bill  and said                                                               
she found it troubling that Kevin Smith stated the following:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
      We urge you not to impede this progress with another                                                                      
         generous benefit to firefighters for a largely                                                                         
     hereditary disease.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  asked MS.  Wing-Heier to  comment on  the statement                                                               
that  SB 131  will increase  costs for  municipalities. She  said                                                               
that was  not her  understanding, based  on testimony  during the                                                               
previous hearing.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:47:42 PM                                                                                                                    
LORI WING-HEIR,  Director, Division  of Insurance,  Department of                                                               
Commerce, Community and  Economic Development (DCCED), Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, confirmed  that adding breast  cancer to  the presumptive                                                               
list was  not expected to  increase costs to  municipalities. She                                                               
acknowledged  that  it was  a  possibility  if the  incidence  of                                                               
breast cancer increased exponentially but  the data has not shown                                                               
there  would be  an increase.  Further, when  different types  of                                                               
cancer were added previously, the  division did not see that many                                                               
cases. She  referenced an email  from Director Collins  that said                                                               
there  has only  been  one  case of  breast  cancer  in the  last                                                               
several years.  She noted that  rates overall have come  down the                                                               
last four years.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked  Mr. Collins if he expects SB  131 to increase                                                               
costs for municipalities.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:48:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES  COLLINS, Director,  Division  of Workers'  Compensation,                                                               
Department of  Labor and  Workforce Development  (DOLWD), Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, agreed  with Director Wing-Heier  and highlighted  that a                                                               
research  brief   from  the  National  Council   on  Compensation                                                               
Insurance (NCCI) found no effect  on rates when breast cancer was                                                               
included  as  a  presumption.  He  noted  that  since  2016,  the                                                               
division  has  accepted  five instances  of  cancer  as  workers'                                                               
compensation injuries. He offered his  belief that SB 131 was the                                                               
right thing to do at the right time.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:51:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HOLLAND  stated a firefighter who  meets the requirements                                                               
should have coverage.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  suggested he communicate with  the Alaska Municipal                                                               
League Joint  Insurance Association  to relay Ms.  Wing-Heier and                                                               
Mr. Collin's testimony that the  bill is not expected to increase                                                               
costs to  municipalities. Their letter  assumes there will  be an                                                               
increase.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:52:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  opened public  testimony on  SB 131;  finding none,                                                               
she closed public testimony. She  advised written testimony could                                                               
be sent to scra@akleg.gov.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked the will of the committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:52:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MYERS  moved to  report SB  131, work  order 32-LS0598\A,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note(s).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:52:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES found no objection and SB 131 was reported from the                                                                
Senate Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:53:25 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Hughes adjourned the Senate Community and Regional Affairs                                                                
Standing Committee meeting at 4:53 p.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 135 v. A Sponsor Statemnet 5.13.21.pdf SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 135
SB 135 v. A Legislation.PDF SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 135
SB 135- Presentation 5.13.21.pdf SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 135
SB 135 Fiscal Note DOA-SSOA 5.7.21.pdf SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 135
SB 119 v. G Sectional Analysis.pdf SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 119
SB 119 v. G Legislation.PDF SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 119
SB 119 Sponsor Statement.pdf SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 119
SB 119 Zero Fiscal Note.pdf SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 119
SB 136 v. A Legislation.PDF SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 136 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM-CJL.pdf SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 136 Research Document-COVID-19 Emergency Restrictions on Firearms.pdf SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 136 v. A Sectional Analysis.pdf SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 136 Presentation.pdf SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 136 v. A Sponsor Statement.pdf SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 136 Support Letter-Alaska Outdoor Council 5.6.21.pdf SCRA 5/11/2021 3:30:00 PM
SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 136 Support Letter- NRA 5.11.21.pdf SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 136 Public Support Letters 5.12.2021.pdf SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 131 Letter of Opposition- Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association.pdf SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 131
SB 131 Letter of Opposition- APEI.pdf SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 131
SB 136 Letter of Opposition- Everytown for Gun Safety.pdf SCRA 5/13/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 136