Legislature(1999 - 2000)

02/22/2000 03:38 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                  February 22, 2000                                                                                             
                      3:38 p.m.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Jerry Ward, Chairman                                                                                                    
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
Senator Randy Phillips                                                                                                          
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
All Members Present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 231                                                                                                             
"An Act naming the Alaska Native Veterans' Honor Bridge."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     -MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CS HOUSE BILL NO. 192 (JUD)                                                                                                     
"An Act relating to reciting the pledge of allegiance by public                                                                 
school students."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     -MOVED SCS FOR CS FOR HB 192 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 236                                                                                                             
"An Act establishing Prisoners of War and Missing in Action                                                                     
Recognition Days and Women Veterans Day; and providing for an                                                                   
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     -SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB 231 - No Previous Senate Action                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HB 192 - No Previous Senate Action                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Denny Weathers                                                                                                              
P.O. Box 1791                                                                                                                   
Cordova AK, 99547                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports HB 192                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 231                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Shirley Demientieff                                                                                                         
229 Second Avenue                                                                                                               
Fairbanks, AK 99701                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 231, and HB 192                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Benno Cleveland                                                                                                             
Vice President of Alaska Native Veterans Association                                                                            
1006 22nd Avenue                                                                                                                
Fairbanks, AK 99701                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 231, and HB 192                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Dennis Poshard                                                                                                              
Legislative Liaison/Special Assistant                                                                                           
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities                                                                                
3132 Channel Drive                                                                                                              
Juneau, AK 99801-7898                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 231                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Richard Franks                                                                                                              
President of Alaska Native Veterans Association                                                                                 
General Delivery                                                                                                                
Minto, AK 99758                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 231                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jeanette James                                                                                                   
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 192                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 00-02, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN WARD called the Senate State Affairs Committee to order at                                                             
3:38 p.m.  Present were Senators Ward, Phillips, Elton, Wilken, and                                                             
Green.  The first order of business to come before the committee                                                                
was SB 231.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
         SB 231-NAMING AK NATIVE VETERANS' HONOR BRIDGE                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN, sponsor of SB 231, stated SB 231 was requested by                                                              
the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), Nenana City Council, and                                                                
Nenana Village Council.  This bill will name the bridge that spans                                                              
the Tanana River at Nenana the "Alaska Native Veterans Honor                                                                    
Bridge," in honor of the many Alaska Native veterans who served                                                                 
this state and country.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The bridge at mile 305 on the George Parks Highway was chosen due                                                               
to its size and location.  The south footing is on Municipality of                                                              
Nenana land, and the north footing is on Nenana Native Village                                                                  
land.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SB 231 recognizes Alaska Native and American Indian veterans.  The                                                              
Department of Defense held a ceremony in 1998 to honor these                                                                    
individuals.  AFN chose to honor Alaska Native veterans that same                                                               
year by dedicating the annual convention to them.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Alaska Natives have an extremely high per capita record of service.                                                             
They have protected our country.  Their heroic service for this                                                                 
state and country are deserving of a monument dedicated in their                                                                
honor.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 293                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHIRLEY DEMIENTIEFF stated she was a part of an effort to start                                                             
a veterans group in Fairbanks.  The bridge chosen for honoring the                                                              
veterans is owned by the City of Nenana on one side, and owned by                                                               
the Native tribe of Nenana.  The bridge is perfect for honoring the                                                             
Alaska Natives who served because the bridge symbolizes that we                                                                 
live in two separate worlds and people who serve our country bridge                                                             
those two worlds.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. RICHARD FRANK, President of Alaska Native Veterans Association,                                                             
replied he is a veteran of WWII and it is important to honor                                                                    
veterans of all wars.  Alaska Natives have served in every major                                                                
war that the U.S. has been involved in, and some are still                                                                      
currently active.  It is an honor to have this bridge named for                                                                 
Alaska Native veterans.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 737                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNO CLEVELAND, Vice President of Alaska Native Veterans                                                                   
Association, replied SB 231 is a good way to give thanks to all the                                                             
Alaska Natives who served in the past and the future.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS asked if other landmarks were chosen to honor the                                                              
Alaska Native veterans.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN replied the City of Nenana and the Village of                                                                   
Nenana wanted to recognize the veterans by naming the bridge.  The                                                              
Alaska Native Veterans Association said they were honored to have                                                               
the bridge named for their service.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS stated that a monument should be constructed for                                                               
the veterans along the Parks Highway.  He believes veterans should                                                              
be recognized more than a bridge name to remind the present                                                                     
generations of what past generations sacrificed.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 968                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN stated a zero fiscal note was attached to SB 231 so                                                             
it would pass easily.  She thanked Senator Phillips for that idea.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS referred to the Ft. Richardson Memorial that was                                                               
recently constructed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1094                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN asked if the area designated had any military                                                                     
significance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN said no.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN WARD stated he belongs to Native Vietnam Veterans of                                                                   
Alaska (NVVA).  NVVA is working with VFWs across the State to                                                                   
construct a memorial to honor Native veterans at Byers Lake.  There                                                             
are efforts under way across the State to honor veterans of war.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN asked if any other monument at Byers Lake was race or                                                             
ethnic based.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN WARD answered the Eskimo Scouts.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1292                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN said there is a Native burial site located on the                                                                
hill, and a historical site.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN stated it is a wonderful recognition of Natives and                                                             
Alaskans to have a site honored after them.  The bridge would be a                                                              
reminder for future generations of the sacrifice those veterans                                                                 
made while serving Alaska and the country.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. DENNIS POSHARD, Legislative Liaison, Department of                                                                          
Transportation & Public Facilities, stated the department supports                                                              
SB 231.  A zero fiscal note was submitted because the cost of                                                                   
securing two signs is approximately $600.  Sign maintenance is a                                                                
growing problem because the budget is decreased every year.  The                                                                
Department of Transportation would be willing to work with Senator                                                              
Lincoln on a roadside memorial.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS stated that the signs on the bridge are full of                                                                
bullet holes and need to be replaced.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD agreed that is a growing problem, especially in the                                                                 
rural areas.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON moved SB 231 with individual recommendations and                                                                  
accompanying fiscal notes.  There being no objections, it was so                                                                
ordered.                                                                                                                        
         HB 192-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1618                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES, sponsor of HB 192, stated the flag salute is                                                              
an important part of patriotism in our country.  The goal is to                                                                 
require public schools to conduct regular flag exercises, which                                                                 
include the pledge of allegiance.  No one will be compelled to                                                                  
recite the pledge against their conscience or belief system.                                                                    
Students who object to reciting the pledge on grounds of conscience                                                             
or belief are asked to maintain a respectful silence.  In proposed                                                              
Senate CS (1-LS0837\I) for CS for HB 192 "regularly" on line 7, has                                                             
been deleted.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN moved to adopts SCS for CS for HB 192(STA)(1-                                                                     
LS0837\I)as the working version of the committee. There being no                                                                
objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said there is a proposed amendment to delete                                                               
"as determined by the governing body."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON stated other things such as time and classes could be                                                             
determined by the governing body.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated the amendment is up to the committee.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN moved the amendment, Senator Wilken objected.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN stated keeping "the governing body" allows the                                                                   
school board latitude to determine how the pledge is recited daily.                                                             
If the amendment passes, the school board will be removed from the                                                              
equation.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES agreed.  She thought "the governing body"                                                                  
didn't need to be in the bill because there is no problem with                                                                  
leaving the language.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1820                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN WARD stated the motion has been withdrawn.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN asked if input has been made by school districts                                                                 
around the State on CS for HB 192 (JUD).                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said they have heard from some school                                                                      
districts, they support CS for HB 192 (JUD) because it sets a                                                                   
standard across the State.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS said the school districts need to explain why                                                                  
certain children maintain silence during the pledge to avoid                                                                    
scrutiny from other children.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked if CS for HB 192 (JUD) excluded private                                                                     
schools.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that was correct.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2044                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. DENNY WEATHERS said the government requires children to attend                                                              
school and chooses the type of education the children learn.                                                                    
Children should be taught to respect others, even children who do                                                               
not recite the pledge.  HB 192 is very important to Alaska and our                                                              
country.  Ms. Weathers recited the history of the flag, and the                                                                 
pledge of allegiance.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. DEMIENTIEFF stated there are certain values missing in children                                                             
today.  The pledge of allegiance is a core value that should be                                                                 
welcomed back into the schools.  We should celebrate things that                                                                
unify our nation, the pledge being one of them.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLEVELAND said many different cultures live within our country                                                              
and the pledge should be something the public sees eye-to-eye on.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN moved SCS for CS for HB 192 (STA) with individual                                                                 
recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.  There being no                                                                  
objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
There being no further business to come before the Senate State                                                                 
Affairs Committee, Chairman Ward adjourned the meeting at 4:30 p.m.                                                             
                                                                                                                                

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