Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/16/2010 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HJR 24 Out of Committee
Moved SCR 14 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 16, 2010                                                                                         
                           9:12 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Linda Menard, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Kevin Meyer, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Joe Paskvan                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 24                                                                                                   
Urging  the   United  States  Congress  and   the  United  States                                                               
Department of  Agriculture to extend the  basic housing allowance                                                               
exclusion to  all military  families for  purposes of  the school                                                               
nutrition program.                                                                                                              
     - MOVED HJR 24 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 14                                                                                             
Recognizing October 2010 as Filipino American History Month.                                                                    
     -MOVED SCR 14 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HJR 24                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FED. SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM/MILITARY                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) RAMRAS                                                                                            
03/13/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/13/09       (H)       MLV, STA                                                                                               
03/31/09       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/31/09       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/31/09       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
04/01/09       (H)       MLV RPT 4DP                                                                                            
04/01/09       (H)       DP: RAMRAS, LYNN, BUCH, GATTO                                                                          
04/07/09       (H)       STA RPT 7DP                                                                                            
04/07/09       (H)       DP: GATTO, SEATON, GRUENBERG, WILSON,                                                                  
                         PETERSEN, JOHNSON, LYNN                                                                                
04/07/09       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/07/09       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
04/07/09       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/17/10       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
02/17/10       (H)       VERSION: HJR 24                                                                                        
02/18/10       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/10       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
03/16/10       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
BILL: SCR 14                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) EGAN                                                                                                     
02/24/10       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/24/10       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
03/16/10       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JAY RAMRAS                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HJR 24.                                                                                        
DEAN HAMBURG, administrator                                                                                                     
School Lunch Program                                                                                                            
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 24.                                                                           
AMY ROUSE, director                                                                                                             
Nutrition Services                                                                                                              
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 24.                                                                           
SENATOR DENNIS EGAN                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SCR 14.                                                                                        
ELLERY LUMBAB representing himself                                                                                              
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SCR 14.                                                                           
RAFAEL CASTANOS, representing himself                                                                                           
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SCR 14.                                                                           
DANTE REYES, representing himself                                                                                               
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SCR 14.                                                                           
ARLENE LUMBAB, board of directors                                                                                               
Filipino Community Inc (FCI)                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SCR 14.                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
9:12:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LINDA  MENARD called  the  Senate  State Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 9:12  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Meyer, French, Paskvan and Menard.                                                                          
           HJR 24-FED. SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM/MILITARY                                                                        
9:13:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MENARD  announced the  first  order  of business  to  come                                                               
before the committee would be HJR 24.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  JAY  RAMRAS,  sponsor  of HJR  24,  said  he  and                                                               
Senator Paskvan both represent Ft.  Wainwright, which has had two                                                               
active duty deployments of 4,000 men  and women in the last three                                                               
years.  Many  military  families   live  off  base.  The  current                                                               
calculation for  the reduced breakfast  or the free  school lunch                                                               
program  takes the  off base  housing allowance  into account  in                                                               
addition  to a  family's income.  Sometimes the  computation will                                                               
pop an enlisted  family out of the ability to  qualify for a free                                                               
or reduced lunch program. HJR 24  brings this to the attention of                                                               
Congress. Other states  are interested in this issue  as well and                                                               
Alaska can lead by example.                                                                                                     
9:16:17 AM                                                                                                                    
He  added  that  he  visited   Arctic  Light  Elementary  on  Ft.                                                               
Wainwright which  is a school  that enjoys 100% employment  of at                                                               
least one  parent per student  by virtue  of being on  a military                                                               
base. Over  90 percent of  the students  qualify for the  free or                                                               
reduced  lunch  program.  This  is  indicative  of  the  peculiar                                                               
relationship that the U.S. has  with its military: applauding and                                                               
recognizing service  but not  rewarding that  service monetarily.                                                               
Other incentives keep the military robust.                                                                                      
CHAIR  MENARD said  she  appreciates  how zealous  Representative                                                               
Ramras has been for lunch programs.                                                                                             
SENATOR PASKVAN commented that this is  a part of the big problem                                                               
of too  many kids going to  school hungry. HJR 24  would help aid                                                               
one segment of such kids.                                                                                                       
9:18:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD opened public testimony.                                                                                           
DEAN   HAMBURG,  administrator,   school  lunch   program,  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula  Borough   School  District,  and  public   policy  and                                                               
legislative chair, Alaska School  Nutrition Association, said the                                                               
USDA supplies  Alaska with support  for almost 10  million school                                                               
meals each school year. Many  students receiving free and reduced                                                               
meals  are  children  of military  families.  Presently,  funding                                                               
provided to  military families to  support off base  housing must                                                               
be  counted  as income  when  that  family  applies for  free  or                                                               
reduced  price  USDA meals.  The  requirement  to report  housing                                                               
income  sometimes  disqualifies  military  families  from  school                                                               
breakfast  and lunch  programs.  Eliminating  the requirement  to                                                               
report the housing allowance as  income when applying for free or                                                               
reduced  price  meals,  would offer  appropriate  and  meaningful                                                               
support to Alaska military families. HJR  24 acts as a message of                                                               
to change current application criteria.                                                                                         
9:21:21 AM                                                                                                                    
AMY ROUSE,  director of nutrition services,  Fairbanks North Star                                                               
Borough School  District, said since  the military has  chosen to                                                               
privatize  base and  post  housing, all  families  now receive  a                                                               
Basic Allowance  for Housing (BAH).  According to  USDA guidance,                                                               
if the  family lives on  any military installation,  their income                                                               
figure excludes BAH.  If the family lives in  the private housing                                                               
market,  renting or  owning,  BAH  has to  be  included in  their                                                               
income  calculation. For  many families,  this is  the difference                                                               
between approval and denial of  meal benefits. Ms. Rouse shared a                                                               
story about  a mother  asking why her  children were  denied meal                                                               
benefits while  her friends' children received  free meals. Their                                                               
husbands were the  same rank, on the same pay  with the same BAH.                                                               
Her friend's family lives on  Ft. Wainwright and her family lives                                                               
in Fairbanks. Ms. Rouse had  to explain the required inclusion of                                                               
the family's BAH as income when  living off base. The mother said                                                               
this was extremely unfair as  post housing was not available when                                                               
her family moved to Fairbanks.                                                                                                  
MS. ROUSE said  she often fields questions about  why children in                                                               
one family  qualify for free  or reduced school meals  and others                                                               
do not. Many  military families feel they are  being punished for                                                               
living in the private housing  market. Families should be treated                                                               
the same and  income calculated the same regardless  of where the                                                               
family resides.                                                                                                                 
9:24:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD closed public testimony.                                                                                           
SENATOR  MEYER  moved  to  report  HJR  24  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There                                                               
being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                         
At ease from 9:25 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.                                                                                             
             SCR 14-FILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH                                                                         
9:30:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD  announced the next  order of business would  be SCR
SENATOR EGAN, sponsor of SCR  14, said this resolution designates                                                               
October 2010  as Filipino American History  Month. Filipinos have                                                               
a  rich  history  and  culture  in  Alaska.  The  first  recorded                                                               
Filipino  in  Alaska  came  by  ship in  1788.  In  early  Alaska                                                               
history, Filipinos worked on whaling  ships, in the Alaska-Juneau                                                               
and Treadwell Gold  Mines and in various  canneries. The Filipino                                                               
American community is the largest  Asian American group in Alaska                                                               
with 18,000  people. Alaska has  had strong  Filipino leadership:                                                               
the  Alaska Legislature  had the  first Filipino  American female                                                               
legislator  in the  nation. Thelma  Buchholdt came  to Alaska  in                                                               
1951 and served  in the House of  Representatives from 1974-1982.                                                               
The intention  of SCR 14 is  to celebrate and honor  the Filipino                                                               
community in Alaska.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  MENARD asked  if October  2010 a  celebration of  anything                                                               
SENATOR EGAN replied that October 18th is Alaska Day.                                                                           
CHAIR MENARD said having Filipino  American Month join ranks with                                                               
Alaska day is appropriate.                                                                                                      
9:33:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD opened testimony.                                                                                                  
ELLERY  LUMBAB,  originally  from the  Philippines,  representing                                                               
himself and his family, said his  father who is 88 now and fought                                                               
with  American World  War II  soldiers against  the Japanese.  He                                                               
said his family  consists of his mom and dad,  their 15 children,                                                               
their spouses, and 62 grandchildren.  He is the artistic director                                                               
of  the  Alitaptap Philippine  Folkloric  Group  of the  Filipino                                                               
Community Incorporated  (FCI) in  Juneau. The  FCI is  the oldest                                                               
organized   Filipino   community   in  Alaska.   Filipinos   have                                                               
contributed a  great deal  to Alaska working  as laborers  in the                                                               
fish canneries  and gold  mines, in  retail and  food businesses,                                                               
and  helping  to  build  Alaska's   economy  since  1788.  Today,                                                               
Filipino teachers,  bankers, doctors and nurses,  are involved in                                                               
almost  every  facet  of Alaskan  society.  Maintaining  original                                                               
Filipino   cultures  and   traditions   among  younger   Filipino                                                               
Americans in Alaska is important.                                                                                               
9:36:34 AM                                                                                                                    
RAFAEL  CASTANOS,  representing  himself,  said he  was  born  in                                                               
Manila. He  was one of  the student leaders demonstrating  in the                                                               
streets  during  the Filipino  revolution  of  1986, kicking  out                                                               
Marcos.  In November  2009, the  FCI president,  Jenny Strickler,                                                               
told Mr.  Castanos that  she had  attended the  Filipino American                                                               
Historical Society  in Anchorage. He explored  the possibility of                                                               
declaring a Filipino American history  month. He noted that there                                                               
are  4 million  Filipinos  in  the U.S.  He  also  noted that  he                                                               
obtained a joint  resolution from the City and  Borough of Juneau                                                               
declaring Filipino American history  month to be celebrated every                                                               
9:39:08 AM                                                                                                                    
DANTE  REYES, representing  himself, said  his family  moved from                                                               
the Philippines to Juneau in 1996  and he has been here since. He                                                               
found  out  about  a  very  organized  Filipino  organization  in                                                               
Juneau,  the  FCI,  with  a   program  to  promote  cultures  and                                                               
traditions of  the Philippines.  If SCR  14 passes,  the Filipino                                                               
association  in Juneau  is  planning to  celebrate  the month  of                                                               
October and  present some shows,  dances and other  traditions to                                                               
9:42:14 AM                                                                                                                    
ARLENE LUMBAB, board of directors,  Filipino Community Inc (FCI),                                                               
said  she  comes   from  one  of  the  central   islands  of  the                                                               
Philippines.  She initially  came to  America through  California                                                               
and then moved to  Juneau three years ago. SCR 14  is an honor to                                                               
all  Filipinos throughout  Alaska. FCI  in Juneau  is the  oldest                                                               
organized Filipino organization, incorporating  in 1956, and many                                                               
founding families reside in Juneau  today. Filipinos, it has been                                                               
said, are the second largest  ethnic group in Alaska after Alaska                                                               
Natives. She urged the passage of SCR 14.                                                                                       
9:44:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD closed public testimony.                                                                                           
CHAIR MENARD noted that all committee members at the table have                                                                 
signed as co-sponsors of SCR 14.                                                                                                
SENATOR MEYER moved to report SCR 14 from committee with                                                                        
individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). There                                                                   
being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                         
9:45:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD, seeing no further business to come before the                                                                     
committee, adjourned the meeting.                                                                                               

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