Legislature(2013 - 2014)BUTROVICH 205

02/12/2013 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 1 ALASKA MINING DAY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 1 Out of Committee
*+ SB 2 INTERSTATE MINING COMPACT & COMMISSION TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 2 Out of Committee
*+ SB 4 MILITARY TRAINING CREDIT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 4(STA) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                       February 12, 2013                                                                                        
                           9:03 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Fred Dyson, Chair                                                                                                       
Senator Cathy Giessel, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 1                                                                                                               
"An Act establishing May 10 of each year as Alaska Mining Day."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 1 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 2                                                                                                               
"An Act enacting the Interstate Mining Compact and relating to                                                                  
the compact; relating to the Interstate Mining Commission; and                                                                  
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 2 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 4                                                                                                               
"An Act  relating to applying  military education,  training, and                                                               
service   credit   to    occupational   licensing   and   certain                                                               
postsecondary  education  and employment  training  requirements;                                                               
providing  for a  temporary  occupational  license for  qualified                                                               
military service members; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 4(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 1                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: ALASKA MINING DAY                                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) GIESSEL                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
01/16/13       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/13                                                                                
01/16/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/13       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
02/12/13       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB   2                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INTERSTATE MINING COMPACT & COMMISSION                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) GIESSEL                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
01/16/13       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/13                                                                                
01/16/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/13       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/12/13       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB   4                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MILITARY TRAINING CREDIT                                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) WIELECHOWSKI                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
01/16/13       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/13                                                                                
01/16/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/13       (S)       STA, L&C, FIN                                                                                          
02/12/13       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ED FOGELS, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                  
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information related to SB 1 and SB                                                              
2.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DEANTHA CROCKETT, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Miners Association (AMA)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of SB 1 and SB 2.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL SATRE, Executive Director                                                                                               
Council of Alaska Producers                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of SB 1 and SB 2.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
GREG CONRAD, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC)                                                                                     
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of SB 1 and SB 2.                                                                      
CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, Associate Vice President                                                                                     
State Relations                                                                                                                 
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information related to SB 4.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS CASE, Chancellor                                                                                                         
University of Alaska - Anchorage                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information related to SB 4.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MARC SAN SOUCI, Northwest Regional Liaison                                                                                      
Department of Defense                                                                                                           
Tacoma, Washington                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 4.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
RIC DAVIDGE, National Chairman of Government Affairs                                                                            
Vietnam Veterans of America                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 4.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
KENDRA KLOSTER, staff                                                                                                           
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Provided information  related  to  SB 4  on                                                             
behalf of the sponsor.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DON HABERGER, Director                                                                                                          
Division  of Corporations,  Business, and  Professional Licensing                                                               
Department  of  Commerce,  Community,  and  Economic  Development                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information related to SB 4.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:03:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRED  DYSON  called  the  Senate  State  Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 9:03  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were Senators  Wielechowski, Coghill,  Giessel, and  Chair                                                               
Dyson.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                     SB 1-ALASKA MINING DAY                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:03:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON  announced that the  bills before the  committee were                                                               
SB 1, SB 2, and SB 4. He  stated his preference to move the bills                                                               
out of committee.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:03:30 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  CATHY GIESSEL,  sponsor of  SB 1,  stated that  the bill                                                               
would establish May  10 as Alaska Mining Day. She  said that date                                                               
was chosen  because on May  10, 1872,  the General Mining  Act of                                                               
the  United  States  was   adopted.  She  highlighted  supporting                                                               
documents  in members'  packets.  She  noted that  a  lot of  the                                                               
infrastructure in  Alaska was built  by the mining  industry. The                                                               
most recent  example is the  Lake Dorothy Hydroelectric  Dam near                                                               
Juneau, which was needed because of the Greens Creek Mine.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL pointed out that  Alaska has a significant amount                                                               
of rare  earth elements, such  as those found in  Bokan Mountain.                                                               
She  spoke  of  an  education   program  called  Alaska  Resource                                                               
Education  that provides  schools  with  information about  mined                                                               
elements used for technology equipment.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:06:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DYSON asked  if other  mining states  have done  something                                                               
similar.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL did not know.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:07:24 AM                                                                                                                    
ED FOGELS, Deputy Commissioner,  Department of Natural Resources,                                                               
testified in support  of SB 1. He related that  mining has paid a                                                               
critical  role  in  Alaska's  history   and  economy.  He  shared                                                               
statistics about  the benefits  of mining  to Alaska.  Mining has                                                               
provided  over  4,000  highly skilled  jobs,  each  that  average                                                               
$100,000 per year. He talked about  the tax benefits from the Red                                                               
Dog and Donlin Mines.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He said that a large part of his  job is to ensure that the seven                                                               
operating  mines are  in environmental  compliance. He  described                                                               
efforts to  strengthen the mining  sector, such as  the Strategic                                                               
and Critical  Minerals Initiative. He spoke  of new opportunities                                                               
in  mining.  He  thought  it  wise  to  remind  Alaskans  of  the                                                               
importance of mining by having an Alaska Mining Day.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:09:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON suggested there was  more mining activity in the last                                                               
ten years,  than in the  past. He stated  that some of  the mines                                                               
are  world  class. He  asked  if  most  mines are  financed  with                                                               
Canadian money.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. FOGELS  agreed with  that analysis. He  said that  mining has                                                               
increased rapidly  over the  last 20 years.  He recalled  that 25                                                               
years ago Greens Creek and Red  Dog were just starting up and the                                                               
only other  mine in  the state  was Usibelli  coal mine.  He said                                                               
there are currently  seven active mines and two  more large mines                                                               
in the permitting  process. He agreed that  a considerable amount                                                               
of  investment  money  is  Canadian,  but  said  some  mines  are                                                               
financed by American dollars, such as Pogo and Kensington.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked how mines are taxed.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. FOGELS listed  the number of ways the state  taxes mines: a 3                                                               
percent royalty  on profits,  a 9  percent corporate  income tax,                                                               
and a 7 percent mining license  tax. The royalty would only apply                                                               
if  the mine  is on  state land.  He pointed  out that  there are                                                               
localized  benefits  from the  mines  in  the  form of  jobs  and                                                               
property taxes.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked if those are taxes on profits.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. FOGELS said yes.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:12:40 AM                                                                                                                    
DEANTHA CROCKETT,  Executive Director, Alaska  Miners Association                                                               
(AMA),  provided  the background  of  AMA  and its  members.  She                                                               
provided  data about  the economic  benefits  the state  receives                                                               
from AMA. She testified in support of SB 1.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  requested that Ms. Crockett  review the economic                                                               
benefits of mining to the Native Corporations.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CROCKETT  described  the economic  benefits  to  the  Nenana                                                               
Corporation from the  Red Dog Mine. The Red Dog  Mine is the only                                                               
taxpayer  in  the  Northwest  Artic Borough.  She  said  that  60                                                               
percent of  the jobs at the  Red Dog Mine are  Nenana Corporation                                                               
shareholders  and  90 percent  of  the  jobs  at Donlin  will  be                                                               
shareholders.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON shared  a view  that the  Red Dog  project was  well                                                               
done. He  mentioned Teck Cominco  mine-related benefits,  such as                                                               
training,  low fuel  rates, the  clinic, the  airport, and  barge                                                               
transportation, all which help the locals, as well.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. CROCKETT  added that the  mine has been very  instrumental in                                                               
helping with evacuating villagers during major storms.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:17:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL SATRE,  Executive Director, Council of  Alaska Producers,                                                               
related  that  he  represents  large-producing  metal  mines.  He                                                               
stated  full  support  for  SB  1. He  wished  to  recognize  the                                                               
individuals who  contributed to the mine  industry. He recognized                                                               
David Stone as being a premier supporter of mining.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:18:56 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  moved to  report SB  1, labeled  LS-0001\U, from                                                               
committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached  zero                                                               
fiscal note.  There being  no objection, SB  1 was  reported from                                                               
the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL noted there was a zero fiscal note.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:19:25 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          SB 2-INTERSTATE MINING COMPACT & COMMISSION                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:23:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  introduced SB 2,  which authorizes the  state to                                                               
join   and  participate   in   the   Interstate  Mining   Compact                                                               
Commission. The purpose of the  Compact is to create and maintain                                                               
a  creative  and  productive mining  industry.  The  bill  allows                                                               
Alaska  to contribute  to  this knowledge.  The  dues for  Alaska                                                               
would be about  $35,000 per year for membership.  She shared dues                                                               
requirements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked for more information about the dues.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL explained  dues are based on how  much each state                                                               
produces. She  referred to a  chart of dues in  members' packets.                                                               
The highest paying  dues member is West Virginia.  She said there                                                               
is a cap on the amount of dues paid.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON inferred that the  $35,000 amount Alaska would pay is                                                               
based on Alaska's present level of mining activity.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL said yes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:24:58 AM                                                                                                                    
GREG  CONRAD,  Executive   Director,  Interstate  Mining  Compact                                                               
Commission (IMCC), testified in support  of SB 2. Alaska has been                                                               
an associate member of IMCC since  2006 and is now moving forward                                                               
to become a full member.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. CONRAD  explained that in today's  legislative and regulatory                                                               
climate in  Washington, D.C. it  is more important than  ever for                                                               
state governments  to be heard.  He said that IMCC  is recognized                                                               
by many in Washington for  its experience and expertise on mining                                                               
issues. As an  example, IMCC has been asked to  testify on behalf                                                               
of the states at six  Congressional hearings over the past couple                                                               
years  on topics,  such as  Good Samaritan  Protections for  Hard                                                               
Rock  Abandoned Mine  Clean Ups,  stream protection  requirements                                                               
for  surface   coal  mining   operations,  hard   rock  financial                                                               
assurance  requirements  under  the  Comprehensive  Environmental                                                               
Response,  Compensation, and  Liability Act (CERCLA), legislation                                                               
to enhance funding for states  to reclaim abandoned coal and hard                                                               
rock mines, and the impacts of  the federal budget on state grant                                                               
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He   said  that   IMCC  has   been  consulted   by  the   General                                                               
Accountability Office and  the National Academy of  Sciences on a                                                               
range of  issues affecting  the states. Also,  IMCC is  active on                                                               
several advisory  bodies, steering committees,  and state/federal                                                               
teams on which  member states generally serve in  order to insure                                                               
their direct input.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. CONRAD  referred to IMCC's  annual report which  was included                                                               
in committee members' packets. He  related that IMCC is regularly                                                               
called  upon to  provide  its recommendations  on  a plethora  of                                                               
issues  on  Capitol  Hill  and   before  the  federal  regulatory                                                               
agencies.  The recommendations  are  developed by  the states  at                                                               
IMCC meetings  and are communicated  in the form  of resolutions,                                                               
testimonies, formal comments,  and Congressional staff briefings.                                                               
It is IMCC's  ability to speak with one voice  on common concerns                                                               
that draws  the states  together and gives  meaning to  what IMCC                                                               
does.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He addressed why  Alaska should become a full member  of IMCC. He                                                               
said that  membership would  allow Alaska to  have a  formal vote                                                               
and to  lead the Compact  in the  direction that is  favorable to                                                               
the  state. Alaska  would also  be  able to  chair IMCC  standing                                                               
committees  and  have  access to  all  communications,  meetings,                                                               
programs, and  initiatives. Membership  would also  allow federal                                                               
agencies and Congress to recognize  Alaska as an important player                                                               
in environmental  concerns and regulatory  issues. Since  IMCC is                                                               
focused  on mining  and related  environmental protection  issues                                                               
with  the federal  government,  it benefits  Alaska  to become  a                                                               
member.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:30:03 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  about Article 3 of  the provision. He                                                               
inquired  if it  currently meets  Alaska's laws,  or if  it would                                                               
need to be revised.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CONRAD understood  that the  state has  robust policies  and                                                               
regulations in place  for the mining industry. He  said that IMCC                                                               
would not interfere with regulations, but rather provide advice.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  inquired how  the  Compact  works regarding  mining                                                               
safety.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CONRAD  said  that  subject is  not  reflected  in  specific                                                               
Compact language, but rather in  the general provisions of IMCC's                                                               
authority  to be  involved  in mining  issues  that impact  state                                                               
governments. He  offered to  provide that  information, as  it is                                                               
one of the key issues that IMCC pursues on behalf of states.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:33:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL pointed out that  information is found in Article                                                               
1, subsection (b)(4).                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON agreed.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He noted  IMCC members have  very large mineral zones  that cross                                                               
into Canada.  He asked  if IMCC has  a working  relationship with                                                               
Canadian provinces.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. CONRAD said no.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:34:33 AM                                                                                                                    
ED FOGELS,  Deputy Commissioner, Department of  Natural Resources                                                               
(DNR),  testified in  support of  SB 2.  He said  that DNR  has a                                                               
strong  mining regulatory  and permitting  program,  which is  in                                                               
line  with  IMCC's  enabling legislation  and  its  requirements.                                                               
Under  the  Governor's direction,  DNR  is  looking for  ways  to                                                               
improve   permitting   and   regulating   of   natural   resource                                                               
development  projects.  Part of  this  initiative  is to  improve                                                               
collaboration with  federal agencies  and to dialogue  with other                                                               
state regulatory and permitting agencies.  This is why IMCC is so                                                               
important to Alaska.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He  recalled his  work with  IMCC the  previous seven  years when                                                               
Alaska first  became an Associate  Member of IMCC. He  shared the                                                               
advantages of becoming a member of  IMCC, such as the full weight                                                               
it carries  from its  25 member  states during  interactions with                                                               
the federal  government. He  gave examples  of federal  issues of                                                               
importance to Alaska: the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's                                                               
initiative to  take over bonding  for hard rock  mining, numerous                                                               
Endangered Species  Act issues, federal budgets,  and Mine Safety                                                               
and Health Administration (MSHA)  regulations. There is a serious                                                               
concern  in Alaska  that  MSHA  is not  taking  into account  the                                                               
remoteness of some of the mine locations.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He mentioned  that some  issues transcend  the mining  sector. He                                                               
said he was  the Governor's designee to represent  Alaska at IMCC                                                               
meetings.  He stressed  that full  membership  would give  Alaska                                                               
more power.  He noted  that IMCC is  growing; Nevada  is pursuing                                                               
full membership,  Montana is contemplating membership,  and there                                                               
is a  movement to get more  Western States to join.  He concluded                                                               
that IMCC is a valuable tool for Alaska.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:39:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL asked what the current makeup of IMCC is.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. FOGELS  replied that IMCC  consists of  predominantly Eastern                                                               
states, but there  are some Midwestern states.  There are several                                                               
Western  Associate Members,  Wyoming,  Nevada, Alaska,  Colorado,                                                               
and Utah. Idaho and Montana are considering membership.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL asked if water  quality and small placer mines is                                                               
an issue for other Compact states.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FOGELS noted  that  Alaska  is unique  in  that respect.  He                                                               
opined that  there were some  smaller operators in  other states.                                                               
Also, other states have gravel and sand mines.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI pointed  out  that currently  there are  no                                                               
full-member Western states. He wondered  if decisions are made on                                                               
a consensus basis.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. FOGELS deferred  to Mr. Conrad to discuss  voting methods. He                                                               
agreed that Alaska would be the first Western state to join.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL said Article 5,  subsection (b), refers to voting                                                               
rights. The  commissioner is entitled  to a vote. Most  voting is                                                               
by majority.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:42:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL SATRE,  Executive Director, Council of  Alaska Producers,                                                               
testified in  support of  SB 2. He  referred to  written comments                                                               
the  Council  submitted  to  the committee.  He  noted  that  the                                                               
Council has always supported a  permitting and regulatory process                                                               
that is  rigorous, science  based, transparent,  and predictable.                                                               
He  opined  that  Alaska  is  a leader  in  mine  permitting  and                                                               
regulation, but  must continue  to improve  on that  process. One                                                               
way to  do that  is to  collaborate with  other mining  states by                                                               
joining IMCC.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:44:32 AM                                                                                                                    
DEANTHA CROCKETT, Executive  Director, Alaska Miners Association,                                                               
testified  in  support of  SB  2.  She  highlighted a  letter  of                                                               
support. She  testified that federal  regulation has  become more                                                               
problematic and  IMCC can be  helpful in that area.  She reported                                                               
on the status of the  Western States Mining Coalition. She stated                                                               
it would be very beneficial for Alaska to join IMCC.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:46:01 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  moved to report  SB 2, labeled  28-LS0005\A, out                                                               
of  committee with  individual recommendations  and the  attached                                                               
fiscal notes. There  being no objections, SB 2  was reported from                                                               
the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:46:34 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                 SB 4-MILITARY TRAINING CREDIT                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:47:27 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BILL WIELECHOWSKI, sponsor of  SB 4, introduced the bill.                                                               
He stated  that he  has been  working on the  bill with  the U.S.                                                               
Department of  Defense for about  two years. The bill  passed the                                                               
Senate  and House  last  year.  It is  the  top  priority of  the                                                               
Department of  Defense. The bill  directs state boards  to accept                                                               
relevant military  education training  and service  as equivalent                                                               
to some or all of  the qualifications required while applying for                                                               
a  license  or a  certificate.  It  also authorizes  issuance  of                                                               
temporary  licenses  or  certificates  for  active  duty  service                                                               
members who  had an equivalent  license or certificate  issued in                                                               
another state.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He discussed a  major concern over unemployment  issues for newly                                                               
separated veterans.  The jobless  rate for post-911  veterans was                                                               
9.9  percent  as of  last  September,  with young  male  veterans                                                               
experiencing an unemployment rate of 18.1 percent.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
He noted that 25 states have passed similar legislation.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He emphasized that the University of  Alaska is doing a good job.                                                               
SB 4 would simply codify some requirements.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:50:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS  CHRISTENSEN, Associate  Vice  President, State  Relations,                                                               
University  of Alaska,  addressed  Section 2  of  the bill  which                                                               
directs  the   university's  president  to  adopt   policies  and                                                               
procedures to award credit for  military training, education, and                                                               
service.  He  noted  that  Alaska's   university  is  already  in                                                               
compliance with this mandate.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He related that  the university is committed  to offering quality                                                               
educational experiences  to active military, veterans,  and their                                                               
dependents. "GIJobs"  is a  magazine and  web portal  that exists                                                               
specifically  to  serve people  who  are  transitioning from  the                                                               
military back  to civilian life.  It has designated both  UAA and                                                               
UAF  as  "military friendly  schools."  Only  15 percent  of  all                                                               
universities,  colleges, and  vocational schools  in the  country                                                               
have earned this distinction, which  is based on an institution's                                                               
financial  and non-financial  commitment  to  recruit and  retain                                                               
military and veteran students.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN  reported that  the web  portal "Guide  to online                                                               
schools.com,"  which  bills  itself  as  the  most  comprehensive                                                               
authority on  distance education and online  learning, has ranked                                                               
the most  military-friendly online  colleges in the  country, and                                                               
out of the  multitude of schools that offer  online education, UA                                                               
was rated number five.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He shared  that the  transfer of credit  has been  problematic at                                                               
the university,  and military  transfer of credit  is a  piece of                                                               
this bigger  issue. He  explained that the  Board of  Regents has                                                               
adopted  a  written policy  that  says  campuses must  accept  in                                                               
transfer  as much  credit as  is appropriate  to a  student's new                                                               
degree  and  graduation  requirements. All  three  campuses  have                                                               
established  transfer credit  policies designed  to give  maximum                                                               
credit  for courses  and training  taken elsewhere,  including in                                                               
the military.  Awarding appropriate credit for  military training                                                               
is one of  the university's responsibilities, and  another way to                                                               
show  commitment  to  recruit and  retain  military  and  veteran                                                               
students.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He addressed  misconceptions about  the credit  transfer process.                                                               
Transfer credit  processes at the  university are managed  at the                                                               
campus level,  although there  is intentionally  a great  deal of                                                               
uniformity in  the system.  With respect  to credit  for military                                                               
training,   all  three   campuses   transfer   credit  based   on                                                               
recommendations  made  by  ACE,  which is  the  acronym  for  the                                                               
American Council of Education. For over  65 years, ACE has had an                                                               
agreement  with  the Department  of  Defense  to review  military                                                               
training  and  experience for  the  award  of equivalent  college                                                               
credits. Its  recommendations on  equivalent college  credits are                                                               
utilized by  many colleges and  universities across  the country.                                                               
The  three  Alaskan  campuses  have  each  entered  into  written                                                               
agreements  with  the  Department  of  Defense  to  use  the  ACE                                                               
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He continued to  say that the three campuses are  also members of                                                               
the  SOC  Consortium.  He  explained  that  SOC  stands  for  the                                                               
Servicemembers Opportunity  Colleges, a consortium of  over 1,000                                                               
colleges and  universities that  enroll military,  and dependents                                                               
in special degree  programs, both on campus  and through distance                                                               
learning. Its purpose is to  let the military get degrees, rather                                                               
than just accumulate  credits as they move from base  to base. To                                                               
be part of SOC, the  campuses signed written agreements to, among                                                               
other things, follow specific  guidelines to ease transferability                                                               
of  credit  between the  member  institutions  and to  limit  the                                                               
number of credits  military students have to earn at  UA in order                                                               
to get a UA degree. For  example, military students working on an                                                               
Associate's Degree  at UAA only  need 3  UAA credits to  earn the                                                               
degree; UAA  will take  all the  rest of  the credits  from other                                                               
schools in the SOC Consortium.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He said UAA  is currently accepting approximately  51 credits per                                                               
student from  those military students who  attended the Community                                                               
College  of  the Air  Force,  the  service academies,  and  other                                                               
regionally accredited  military institutions. At UAF,  a military                                                               
student can use approximately 30  credits of typical training for                                                               
the Bachelor of Emergency Management  Degree, or 90 credits for a                                                               
General  Studies   Bachelor  of   Arts  that  does   not  require                                                               
satisfying particular major requirements.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He continued to say that neither  UAA nor UAF have any limitation                                                               
on the  number of military  transfer credits they will  award. He                                                               
said they used to,  but they've done away with it  as part of the                                                               
continual process to  review the system and make  it more student                                                               
friendly.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:55:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON asked how long ago the university made that change.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN thought that UAA  made the change about two years                                                               
ago.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He shared  that UAA awards over  15,000 hours a year  of military                                                               
transfer credit  for training, for  education, and even  for time                                                               
spent  in the  service.  That number  is  increasing. Last  year,                                                               
approximately  99.5   percent  of  the  students   who  requested                                                               
military transfer credits received those credits.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He  said that  Alaska is  widely known  to service  members as  a                                                               
state  that  welcomes  and  appreciates  the  military.  Alaska's                                                               
university, as  demonstrated by  its existing  transfer policies,                                                               
reflects those prevailing social values.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He stated  that in the  last 12 months UAA  has done a  number of                                                               
things to improve the treatment  of military, veterans, and their                                                               
families on campus.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  recalled stories of credit  transfer problems within                                                               
the Alaska university system.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CHRISTENSEN   said  it  was  an   interesting  question.  He                                                               
explained  that  98  to  99  percent  of  all  credits  transfer;                                                               
however,  statistics  can  be misleading.  President  Gamble  has                                                               
engaged  in  the  University's  Strategic  Direction  Initiative,                                                               
which is  a comprehensive  look at what  the university  is doing                                                               
right,  as well  as  wrong.  It was  discovered  that credits  do                                                               
transfer, but  the process  is problematic, as  is the  amount of                                                               
time it  takes. In  2011 at UAA  it took 45  days for  the credit                                                               
transfer process, but  now it takes only 3  days. UAA transferred                                                               
275,000  credits last  year or  41 percent  more than  four years                                                               
earlier.  They transferred  in credits  for  6,000 students  last                                                               
year,  which is  an increase  of  65 percent.  He concluded  that                                                               
there is a commitment to change the system.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON said that was heartening.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:59:47 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI shared  that  his staff  member  has had  a                                                               
negative personal  experience regarding credit transfer  from UAS                                                               
to UAA.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CHRISTENSEN explained  that  credits  sometimes transfer  as                                                               
general education,  but not as requirement  credits. He suggested                                                               
referring problems to him.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he would.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON   recalled  President  Hamilton  saying   that  each                                                               
discipline within  the university  has its own  credit standards.                                                               
He asked if that is still a problem.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:01:47 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. CHRISTENSEN agreed  that has been a problem in  the past, but                                                               
he  said the  situation continues  to improve.  For example,  100                                                               
percent  of general  education credits  are now  accepted between                                                               
UAA and UAF.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  said he  had an impression  that the  university was                                                               
monolithic.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN countered  that the opposite is true;  he said it                                                               
is the least monolithic institution he has been exposed to.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if there  is a  policy in  place for                                                               
National Guard members attending school.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN offered to find out.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:03:48 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  DYSON shared  a story  about a  military person's  problem                                                               
with receiving credit. He voiced  appreciation for the ability to                                                               
adjust  credits for  military members.  He requested  information                                                               
about allowing military experience for credit.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN could not speak to that issue.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:04:41 AM                                                                                                                   
THOMAS  CASE,  Chancellor,  University  of  Alaska  -  Anchorage,                                                               
stated the  importance of his  deep personal commitment,  and the                                                               
University's commitment,  towards the good treatment  of military                                                               
veterans.  He spoke  of  his  33 years  of  active duty  military                                                               
service and said that Alaska  is the most military-friendly state                                                               
he has  served in. He  predicted Alaska's commitment  to veterans                                                               
would  increase due  to  the pending  "draw  down of  engagement"                                                               
around the world and the return of more veterans.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He  shared  statistics  about how  many  veterans  are  currently                                                               
enrolled. There  are 1,850  active duty  and veteran  students in                                                               
the UAA  system. The  university has  established a  Military and                                                               
Veteran Student Task Force in order  to take a close look at each                                                               
of  the  programs.  He  referred   to  the  example  Chair  Dyson                                                               
mentioned and  said that  an attempt  is being  made to  see what                                                               
will work for that individual.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He shared  that UAA is  one of  eleven campuses nationwide  to be                                                               
accepted to participate in Vet  Success on Campus. The university                                                               
has a new Military and  Veterans Student Resource Center. Much of                                                               
the progress the university is  making is impacted by legislative                                                               
support. Aspects  of the  budget that go  toward building  up the                                                               
counseling  program   are  making  a  difference.   He  said  the                                                               
university  is  working  very  hard  on  the  transferability  of                                                               
credits and making great progress.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:07:54 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  DYSON  requested  information   about  how  military  work                                                               
experience, or "hands on," translates  to credits, such as in the                                                               
medical profession.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHANCELLOR CASE offered to provide specific examples.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  requested specific  examples of  military experience                                                               
that is  considered for  credits. He said  he was  impressed with                                                               
the progress the university has made.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHANCELLOR CASE said, "We have only begun to fight."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:09:14 AM                                                                                                                   
MARC  SAN  SOUCI,  Northwest   Regional  Liaison,  Department  of                                                               
Defense,  testified  in support  of  SB  4.  He related  that  in                                                               
September  of  2012,  the  unemployment   rate  for  young,  male                                                               
veterans  18 to  24 was  18.1 percent.  He said  in 2012  a study                                                               
reported  that Alaska  had 1,231  military  veterans separate  or                                                               
retire  back  to  Alaska.  In  the last  two  years,  over  2,500                                                               
veterans returned to Alaska.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He  emphasized that  he  is not  asking  for direct  occupational                                                               
licensure  if it  is not  equivalent. He  is only  seeking credit                                                               
where credit  is due. The  public has already paid  for veterans'                                                               
training  within the  "Department of  Defense (DOD)  School.' The                                                               
DOD recognizes the need to  make credits easier for credentialing                                                               
bodies  to process  and accept.  Six pilot  states are  reviewing                                                               
military  occupations  to  see whether  training  and  experience                                                               
qualify for credits.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He  said there  is a  new Joint  Service Transcript  (JST), which                                                               
will validate  and document military credits  so institutions can                                                               
review them.  He added  that DOD is  also working  on determining                                                               
which credentials relate to which military occupations.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:14:21 AM                                                                                                                   
RIC  DAVIDGE, National  Chairman of  Government Affairs,  Vietnam                                                               
Veterans of  America, talked  about the  crucial 90  days between                                                               
separation and the start of school  or training or finding a job.                                                               
He  reported that  his organization  aims to  shorten the  90-day                                                               
period and  provide training or  work for returning  veterans. He                                                               
said SB 4 will help with this goal.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He described  the placement of  two Veteran Services  Officers on                                                               
campus  in  Fairbanks  and  Juneau  to help  meet  the  needs  of                                                               
veterans.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:17:38 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR DYSON thanked all of the testifiers.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  wished to focus on  Section 1 of the  bill which                                                               
has  to do  with licensing  boards and  temporary licensing.  She                                                               
explained  that  subsections  (b  -   e)  on  page  2  deal  with                                                               
activities of  the professional regulatory  boards. She  said she                                                               
appreciates (b)(2)  which holds in place  the criminal background                                                               
check  for licensing.  She voiced  concern  about subsection  (d)                                                               
regarding  a temporary  license  being issues  for  180 days  and                                                               
potential  for  another 180  days.  She  said when  she  reviewed                                                               
statutes  for the  Board of  Medicine  and the  Board of  Nursing                                                               
where  competence is  paramount,  she discovered  that they  both                                                               
provide for a 180 day  temporary license, which is non-renewable.                                                               
She wondered why  the extra six-month period was  provided for in                                                               
this legislation.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI requested  his  staff,  Kendra Kloster,  to                                                               
explain.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:20:32 AM                                                                                                                   
KENDRA KLOSTER,  staff to Senator  Bill Wielechowski,  sponsor of                                                               
SB 4,  explained that the language  was written with the  help of                                                               
the Department  of Commerce, Community, and  Economic Development                                                               
(DCCED). She  said the language  Senator Giessel is  referring to                                                               
is similar  to language used for  transferring temporary licenses                                                               
for spouses. She  emphasized the word "may" is used,  so it is up                                                               
to the boards on whether they want to extend the period.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GIESSEL informed  the  committee that  there are  boards                                                               
that  have temporary  license limitations  of only  30 days.  She                                                               
related her concern  that if an individual is  not qualifying for                                                               
a  permanent license  after six  months, it  calls into  question                                                               
their  ability   to  meet  the  requirements.   It  also  creates                                                               
additional administrative activity for the board.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. KLOSTER deferred to DCCED to answer.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:21:45 AM                                                                                                                   
DON HABERGER,  Director, Division of Corporations,  Business, and                                                               
Professional  Licensing, Department  of Commerce,  Community, and                                                               
Economic Development, explained  that the Division views  it as a                                                               
policy call.  There are a  variety of temporary  licenses, either                                                               
through  statute or  adopted by  regulation  from a  professional                                                               
board.  The Division  does not  have  a specific  comment on  the                                                               
extra 180 days.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON asked  if regulations  are run  by the  professional                                                               
boards.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HABERGER said  yes. He  explained that  the 40  professional                                                               
licenses  are split  into "boarded"  and "unboarded"  categories.                                                               
The legislature has given the  boards authority to regulate their                                                               
professions.  The  Division  only   sets  regulations  for  those                                                               
programs that do not have boards.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI agreed  it was a policy call.  He recalled a                                                               
previous bill  that provided similar  provisions for  spouses. He                                                               
said the legislature is free to change that language.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:23:29 AM                                                                                                                   
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:25:21 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GIESSEL offered a conceptual amendment:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     On page 2, line 19                                                                                                         
     Add a period after "180 days"                                                                                              
     Delete the rest of subsection (d)                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, the conceptual amendment was adopted.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  moved to  report SB  4, labeled  28-LS0016\U, as                                                               
amended,  out of  committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                               
attached fiscal notes. There being  no objection, CSSB 4(STA) was                                                               
reported from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:26:51 AM                                                                                                                   
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair  Dyson   adjourned  the   Senate  State   Affairs  Standing                                                               
Committee at 10:26 p.m.                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 1 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 1
SB 1 - 001 Version U.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 1
SB 1 - Overview of Mining in AK LR13-156.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 1
SB 1- Letter of Support AMA.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 1
SB 1 - Letter of Supporty CAP.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 1
SB 1 - Support - 2011 Gov Parnell Mining Day Proclamation 041411.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 1
SB 2 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 - Bill version 0005A.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 - Sectional.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 - Interstate Mining Compact Commission Website.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 - IMCC Dues Assessments 2014 and 2015.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 - Letter of Support AMA.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 - Letter of Support CAP.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 - IMCC 2011 Annual Report.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 - Letter of Support Resource Devlp Cncl.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 4 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 4
SB 4 - Military Training Credit.Version U.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 4
SB 4 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 4
SB 4 - One Page Briefing.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 4
SB 4 - Support Letter.Ed Kringer at DoD.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 4
SB4 - Support letter.Vietnam Veterans of America.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 4
SB 4 Fiscal Note SB004-DCCED-CBPL-02-09-13.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 4
SB 4 Fiscal Note SB004-DOLWD-WIB-2-8-13.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 4
SB 1 Fiscal Note SB001-DOA-FAC-2-08-13.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 1
SB 2 Fiscal Note SB002-DNR-MLW-2-9-13.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 Fiscal Note SB002-DOA-DRB-1-22-13.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 2 - Letter of Support Mr. Steffy.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 2
SB 4 Fiscal Note SB004-UA-SYSBRA-2-12-13.pdf SSTA 2/12/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 4