Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/04/1994 09:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE March 4, 1994 9:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Loren Leman, Chair Senator Robin Taylor Senator Jim Duncan MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Mike Miller, Vice Chair Senator Johnny Ellis COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 46 Requesting the United States Congress to provide a waiver for nontaxable diesel fuel sold in Alaska from the requirement that it contain a blue dye additive. SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 17 Honoring Alaskan and Palmer resident Tommy Moe for winning a gold medal at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. SENATE BILL NO. 216 "An Act relating to the sale, display, or distribution of material harmful to minors at places where minors are allowed to be present and where minors are allowed to view such material." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SJR 46 - No previous senate committee action. SCR 17 - No previous senate committee action. SB 216 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/11/94 and 2/16/94. WITNESS REGISTER Fred Dyson, Commissioner Designee State Commission for Human Rights Eagle River, AK 99577¶694-3744 POSITION STATEMENT: testified on behalf of his confirmation Julie Benson, Commissioner Designee Alaska Public Offices Commission P.O. Box 75296, Fairbanks, AK 99707¶479-7655 POSITION STATEMENT: testified on behalf of her confirmation ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-13, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN LEMAN calls the Senate State Affairs Committee to order at 9:05 a.m. The chairman asks Mr. Dyson to join the committee at the table to testify at his confirmation hearing for the State Commission on Human Rights. Number 024 FRED DYSON, Commissioner Designee, State Commission for Human Rights states he is from Eagle River. Mr. Dyson says he was born in Canada and came to the United States as an immigrant. He moved to Alaska in 1964 and has been in the state continuously since that time. Mr. Dyson has worked as an engineer in the oil industry and has been a commercial fisherman since 1976. During the winter he makes part of his living doing technical writing and engineering. MR. DYSON has been involved in community affairs for about fifteen years, starting with community councils. Human rights issues have always intrigued Mr. Dyson; despite being a supposedly unimaginative engineer, he has frequently found himself involved in people's problems. MR. DYSON states he and his wife raised three children of their own and have had about fifteen foster children. Most of the foster children were short term, some were long term. Almost all of the foster children came from very dysfunctional homes, several were in the criminal justice system, and three-fourths of the foster children had been sexually abused. Mr. Dyson states if he has a hot button, it's abuse of children, which he sees as a significant problem in our culture. MR. DYSON says that like most people in the majority in our culture, he had little idea of discrimination as he was growing up. As an adult, he began to realize that a lot of people have suffered a great deal of discrimination, which infuriates him. In college, Mr. Dyson worked in construction as a pile buck. There was a black man named John German who virtually carried Mr. Dyson on his back, showed Mr. Dyson how to do things, and when Mr. Dyson couldn't carry his load, Mr. German went out of his way to help Mr. Dyson. Mr. Dyson tells of the discrimination he witnessed against Mr. German. Mr. Dyson recalls the outrage he felt at witnessing this discrimination against a man he admired so much. Number 090 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Dyson what he thinks the most significant human rights issues are in Alaska today. Number 101 MR. DYSON states some key issues that he sees relate to sexual harassment and discrimination and racial discrimination. Mr. Dyson thinks there are problems with people's awareness of what's acceptable. The primary problem Mr. Dyson sees arising is the conflict of rights, when the rights of one person or group conflict with the rights of another person or group. Even if there is not bigotry or prejudice involved in a particular case of discrimination, there are practical aspects that must be dealt with. MR. DYSON states another area of human rights that he is concerned with, but in which he does not have much knowledge, is the area of aboriginal law and native rights. In this state there are a number of organizations which are chartered on a racial basis. What happens when those organizations run up against EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) and the bill of rights. Reasonable accommodations have got to be made to deal with those problems. Number 156 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if the foster children Mr. Dyson and his wife cared for were of races other than caucasian. MR. DYSON says he did have fosterhildldren whose race was not caucasian. He also says the fishing fleet of which he is a part is made up of a large number of Alaska Natives. He has also worked in a number of villages doing engineering work. He does not claim to be an expert on minorities, but thinks he is sensitive to the issues involving minorities. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there are questions of Mr. Dyson. Number 166 SENATOR TAYLOR says he would just like to thank Mr. Dyson very much for being willing to serve on the commission and put in the time and the effort such service takes. MR. DYSON replies he feels the same way about people who serve in the legislature. People who think it is an honor and a privilege to serve in a legislative body have not been there. Mr. Dyson says when friends of his who have served in elected office thank him for helping them or making a contribution, Mr. Dyson tells them they have it wrong and he should be thanking them for serving. MR. DYSON informs the committee that the composition of the State Commission on Human Rights is one female Latino, two male Alaska Natives, one female caucasian, and one female Japanese-American; so he is the only old, white, male on the commission, and the only homely, old person of the group. Number 207 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Mr. Dyson for his testimony and calls Ms. Benson to testify. Number 215 JULIE BENSON, Commissioner Designee, Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC), testifying from Fairbanks says she was born in Oregon, raised in Washington, and came to Alaska in 1989 after 18 years in California. Ms. Benson states she has 14 years of clerical experience, has worked in a goldmine, as a bartender, and as a homemaker. She is serving and wants to continue to serve on the APOC in order to give something back to the community. Ms. Benson says she did several months of volunteer work on the "Alaska or Bust" exhibit at the University of Alaska. MS. BENSON says when a position on the APOC came open, she immediately applied. She feels it is very important to support the public's right to know what goes on in government. She tries to do her best to do that. Ms. Benson states she enjoys her work on the commission and does her best to be non-partisan in it. She believes approaching the work in a non-partisan manner is the best way to approach it. She says she is not an articulate person, but believes she can think things through fairly. Number 266 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Benson for serving on the APOC and for her testimony. The chairman asks Ms. Benson if she can think of any changes that should be made to the commission and how it operates. MS. BENSON responds she cannot think of any at this time. Number 276 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SJR 46 (WAIVE IRS DIESEL FUEL DYE RULE) as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee. SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to release SJR 46 from the State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. Number 287 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders SJR 46 released from committee with individual recommendations. Number 288 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SCR 17 (HONORING TOMMY MOE) as the next order of business before the committee. SENATOR DUNCAN makes a motion to release SCR 17 from the State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations Number 293 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders SCR 17 released from committee with individual recommendations. Number 290 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SB 216 (DISPLAY SEX EXPLICIT MATERIALS NEAR MINOR) as the next order of business before the committee. The chairman announces SB 216 will be held in committee to work with the sponsor on a committee substitute. CHAIRMAN LEMAN adjourns the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting at 9:25 a.m.