Legislature(1999 - 2000)
02/22/2000 03:38 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.