Legislature(2013 - 2014)BUTROVICH 205

03/28/2013 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 73 PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION/MILITARY WIDOW(ER) TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HCR 4 HMONG-AMERICAN VETERANS DAY TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCR 4 Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= SB 45 FEE/TAX EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN VEHICLES
Moved SB 45 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 28, 2013                                                                                         
                           9:01 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. 73                                                                                                              
"An  Act  authorizing  municipalities  to  exempt  from  tax,  by                                                               
ordinance approved  by the voters  in the municipality,  the real                                                               
property that is  the primary residence of a resident  who is the                                                               
widow  or  widower of  a  person  who  was  killed while  in  the                                                               
military  service of  the  United States;  and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 4                                                                                               
Proclaiming May 15 to be Hmong-American Veterans Memorial Day.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HCR 4 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 45                                                                                                              
"An Act setting special registration fees for alternative fuel                                                                  
vehicles; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 45 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 73                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION/MILITARY WIDOW(ER)                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MEYER                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
03/11/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/11/13       (S)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
03/19/13       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/19/13       (S)       -- Meeting Postponed to 3/26/13 --                                                                     
03/26/13       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/26/13       (S)       Moved CSSB 73(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                    
03/26/13       (S)       MINUTE (CRA)                                                                                           
03/27/13       (S)       CRA RPT CS 4DP    NEW TITLE                                                                            
03/27/13       (S)       DP: MICCICHE, EGAN, HOFFMAN, GIESSEL                                                                   
03/28/13       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HCR 4                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: HMONG-AMERICAN VETERANS DAY                                                                                        
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) LEDOUX                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/15/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/15/13       (H)       MLV                                                                                                    
03/12/13       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/12/13       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/12/13       (H)       MINUTE (MLV)                                                                                           
03/13/13       (H)       MLV RPT 6DP 1AM                                                                                        
03/13/13       (H)       DP:    SADDLER,    HUGHES,    GRUENBERG,                                                               
                         HIGGINS, FOSTER, LEDOUX                                                                                
03/13/13       (H)       AM: REINBOLD                                                                                           
03/18/13       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/18/13       (H)       VERSION: HCR 4                                                                                         
03/19/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/19/13       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
03/28/13       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 45                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: FEE/TAX EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN VEHICLES                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MCGUIRE                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/06/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/06/13       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/28/13       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/28/13       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/28/13       (S)       MINUTE (STA)                                                                                           
03/28/13       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
EDRA MORLEDGE, Staff                                                                                                            
Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 73 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KEVIN MEYER                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 73.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RACHEL WITTY, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                        
Labor and State Affairs Section                                                                                                 
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions related to SB 73.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KATHIE WASSERMAN, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Municipal League                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 73.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN TOW, representing herself                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of including same sex                                                                  
domestic partners in SB 73.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAT CARLSON, Director of Assessing                                                                                              
Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified about problems with SB 73.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
STEVE VAN SANT, State Assessor                                                                                                  
Division of Community and Regional Affairs                                                                                      
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions related to SB 73.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JEFFREY MITTMAN, Executive Director                                                                                             
Alaska Civil Liberties Union                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 73.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT RUBY, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Community and Regional Affairs                                                                                      
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 73.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GABRIELLE LEDOUX                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HCR 4.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DIRK MOFFAT, Staff                                                                                                              
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHARLIE MOUA, President                                                                                                         
Special Guerilla Unit - Veterans and Family of USA - California                                                                 
Sacramento, California                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HCR 4.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ARTHUR YANG, Advisor                                                                                                            
Special Guerrilla Unit Veterans and Family of USA - Alaska                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HCR 4.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PASERT LEE, President                                                                                                           
Hmong Alaska Community                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HCR 4.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
GENEVIEVE WOJTUSIK, Staff                                                                                                       
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information related to SB 45.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CURTIS THAYER, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                              
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Explained the fiscal note for SB 45.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOWARD LENOX, Regional Director                                                                                                 
Government Affairs-Western Region                                                                                               
General Motors                                                                                                                  
Sacramento, California                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 45.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:01:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRED  DYSON  called  the  Senate  State  Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 9:01  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were  Senators  Wielechowski, Coghill,  and  Giessel,  and                                                               
Chair Dyson.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
        SB 73-PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION/MILITARY WIDOW(ER)                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:02:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON announced  that the first order of  business would be                                                               
SB 73.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
EDRA  MORLEDGE, Staff,  Senator Kevin  Meyer, sponsor  of SB  73,                                                               
introduced the bill on behalf  of the sponsor. She explained that                                                               
SB 73 provides  a property tax exemption for  widows and widowers                                                               
of military  service members.  The bill came  about because  of a                                                               
constituent  of  Senator Meyers,  Theresa  Dayton,  who lost  her                                                               
husband who  was in  the military.  She referred  to a  letter of                                                               
support for Ms.  Dayton in members' packets. She  related that in                                                               
2012, Ms. Dayton  worked hard with the  Municipality of Anchorage                                                               
to pass Proposition  7, which would exempt the  first $150,000 of                                                               
property  taxes  for  surviving military  spouses;  however,  the                                                               
proposition cannot  take effect  until the legislature  amends AS                                                               
29.45.030(e).                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MORLEDGE  related  that  SB  73  amends  the  aforementioned                                                               
statute so  that Proposition 7 can  take effect and so  any other                                                               
municipality can do the same thing.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON noted the arrival of Senator Meyer.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE  continued to explain  that the bill is  intended to                                                               
support the  families of  service members  who die  while serving                                                               
their country and to encourage  the families to remain in Alaska.                                                               
It  is not  an unfunded  mandate, but  allows municipalities  the                                                               
statutory language needed to provide  this exemption, should they                                                               
wish  to.  She  noted  there  is a  zero  fiscal  note  from  the                                                               
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE offered to explain  the changes between the original                                                               
bill and the CS, version N.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:04:52 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  moved to adopt CS  for SB 73, version  N, as the                                                               
working document. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE described  the changes from the  original version of                                                               
the bill, which was modeled  on previous legislation. The CS does                                                               
not  limit the  exemption  to those  60 years  and  older as  the                                                               
original bill  did. The CS  was also tightened up  regarding what                                                               
it means  to be killed  in the military.  It now states  that the                                                               
provision applies to  a member of the armed forces  of the United                                                               
States  who died  because  of illness  or  injury suffered  while                                                               
serving  on   active  duty  or  complications   relating  to  the                                                               
treatment  of the  illness  or injury  suffered  while on  active                                                               
duty.  The  language  mirrors another  statute  and  is  clearer,                                                               
according  to the  Department of  Law. Also,  the definitions  of                                                               
widow and widower were clarified.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:07:09 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:07:56 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KEVIN  MEYER,  sponsor  of   SB  73,  related  that  the                                                               
legislation would  apply to only  five people. He  commented that                                                               
he  didn't know  why  people  join the  military  because of  the                                                               
inadequate life  insurance offered.  He explained  that Anchorage                                                               
put this issue  on the ballot in 2012 and  it passed; however, it                                                               
cannot be implemented until a statute change is made.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:09:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON  asked if  there was a  legal opinion  from Anchorage                                                               
regarding the need to modify the state statute.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE  referred to an item  in the packet -  the Anchorage                                                               
ordinance,  which  specifies the  statute  must  be changed.  She                                                               
noted that there is a  similar statute that allows a municipality                                                               
to exempt  property tax  for widows and  widowers, but  it states                                                               
that the  person must  be serving on  active duty  while eligible                                                               
for hostile fire or imminent danger  pay. Senate Bill 73 does not                                                               
use that  language and requires a  vote of the people  before the                                                               
exemption is allowed, which the other statute does not.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:11:18 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked  for  a definition  of  active  duty                                                               
service.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MORLEDGE responded  that legislative  research came  up with                                                               
many  definitions.  The  sponsor  wished  the  definition  to  be                                                               
broader  than what  was in  current statute.  For example,  SB 73                                                               
would apply to the family of  a person who contracted malaria and                                                               
died, but was not necessarily in combat.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   asked  if   all  branches   are  covered,                                                               
including the National Guard and the Coast Guard.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE said yes.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  if the language "who  dies because of                                                               
illness or  injury" refers 100  percent to death caused  by their                                                               
military service.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE clarified  that the intent is if the  person died as                                                               
a result of their active duty experience.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:14:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON  assumed that the  legislature is making  it possible                                                               
for the  municipalities to enact  their own propositions  and the                                                               
municipalities can set the criteria.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MEYER agreed.  He  said he  did not  want  the state  to                                                               
hinder   municipalities'   flexibility   to   apply   their   own                                                               
guidelines.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  noted she worked  on another bill that  used the                                                               
terms  "active duty"  and  "overseas," which  also  apply to  "in                                                               
Alaska." She  clarified that illness or  injury experienced while                                                               
on active  duty applies to  those serving at home.  She concluded                                                               
the bill is very broad.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE  said that is  the intent of  the bill. She  gave an                                                               
example of a constituent whose husband was killed in Alaska.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:16:04 AM                                                                                                                    
RACHEL  WITTY,  Assistant  Attorney   General,  Labor  and  State                                                               
Affairs Section,  Department of  Law, answered  questions related                                                               
to SB  73. She commented  that she did  not have an  answer about                                                               
whether the  cause of death had  to be a substantial  factor or a                                                               
contributing factor.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked if the statute change is needed.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. WITTY said, based on Anchorage's ordinance, it is needed.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  asked if  current statute  allows a  municipality to                                                               
provide relief for certain people on property taxes.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WITTY replied  that  if  it is  not  one  of the  categories                                                               
included under the  current statute, which is  limited to persons                                                               
65 and older, or a disabled  veteran, or a widow or widower, aged                                                               
60  or  more,  of  a  person  65 or  older,  it  is  needed.  The                                                               
municipalities were  not able to  give the exception  to military                                                               
widows or  widowers of someone who  was killed who was  not 65 or                                                               
older or a disabled veteran.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:18:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON  looked at AS  29.45.050 and read subsection  (s), "a                                                               
municipality  may by  ordinance partially  or wholly  exempt from                                                               
taxation,  a real  property  owned and  occupied  as a  permanent                                                               
place  of abode  by resident  who is  the widow  or widower  of a                                                               
member of the  armed services injured on active  duty." He opined                                                               
that municipalities  could have provided for  the exemption under                                                               
those tighter  conditions in current  code. He asked if  that was                                                               
correct.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. WITTY  said she  believed that to  be correct.  She suggested                                                               
that someone else  from the Department of Law  could clarify that                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON said  the bill  broadens the  scope and  is probably                                                               
necessary to accomplish the sponsor's intent.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if  the bill  would only  affect five                                                               
people in Anchorage.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. WITTY  deferred to  Marty McGee,  the Anchorage  assessor, to                                                               
answer.  She understood  that the  bill would  have a  relatively                                                               
minor effect.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MEYER  noted  that  the   number  was  attained  by  the                                                               
assessor.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if that was in only Anchorage.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MEYER said that was correct.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:21:41 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHIE  WASSERMAN, Executive  Director, Alaska  Municipal League,                                                               
testified on  SB 73. She  said she  appreciates that the  bill is                                                               
optional.  She also  wondered if  this provision  was already  in                                                               
statute and she maintained that  AS 29.45.050(s) was broader than                                                               
SB 73  in that it  allows a  municipality to partially  or wholly                                                               
exempt  someone from  taxation. She  thought most  municipalities                                                               
did not have "wiggle room" to exempt anyone from property taxes.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL   asked  if  Ms.  Wasserman   heard  the  debate                                                               
regarding Proposition 7 in Anchorage.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN said no.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   recalled  that  a  similar   bill  passed                                                               
recently.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WASSERMAN  said  Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough  passed  an                                                               
ordinance to broaden exemptions several years ago.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL said AS 29.45.050 was passed in 2008.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:24:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN TOW, representing herself,  testified in favor of including                                                               
same  sex domestic  partners in  the bill.  She related  that she                                                               
served 22  years of  honorable service in  the United  States Air                                                               
Force.  She  provided  her  military  history  and  her  personal                                                               
history. She noted  the potential value of  the benefits provided                                                               
by  this legislation  for  her  and her  family.  She detailed  a                                                               
number one  fear that  families such  as hers  will not  be taken                                                               
care of.  She concluded  that gay  and lesbian  military families                                                               
must be included in the provisions of SB 73.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON thanked Ms. Tow for her service.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:27:51 AM                                                                                                                    
PAT  CARLSON,   Director  of  Assessing,  Fairbanks   North  Star                                                               
Borough, testified  about problems with  SB 73. He noted  that he                                                               
is  also a  Vietnam veteran  with the  Coast Guard.  He described                                                               
significant changes  between the  optional exemptions  adopted by                                                               
the Fairbanks North Star Borough  and the mandatory provisions of                                                               
SB 73.  He said version N,  changes the impact from  a relatively                                                               
small  one to  a much  larger one  by increasing  the number  who                                                               
could  benefit.   There  is   no  age  limit   and  no   way  for                                                               
municipalities to  correct or  modify the  terms. He  stated that                                                               
Fairbanks  has 716  disabled vets  under the  mandatory exemption                                                               
program, which  equals about  $100 million  in assessed  value or                                                               
about $1.5  million in revenue  exempted. There is  the potential                                                               
for the new version of the  bill to greatly increase that amount.                                                               
He maintained  that SB  73 is  not a local  option and  cannot be                                                               
modified  without further  legislative  action. He  called it  an                                                               
unfunded mandate. He noted that  he supports the concept, but not                                                               
the increase in local liability.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:31:20 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI questioned Mr.  Carlson's statement that the                                                               
statute is  mandatory and has  no age  limit. He stated  that the                                                               
widow or widower has to be 60 years  or older. He read on page 1,                                                               
lines 10-14,  "A municipality  may by  ordinance approved  by the                                                               
voters grant the exemption under  this subsection to the widow or                                                               
widower under 60 years of age."  He asked why Mr. Carlson thought                                                               
the bill was mandatory.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CARLSON said  he  was  reading from  the  original bill.  He                                                               
maintained  that the  bill is  mandatory because  it modifies  AS                                                               
29.45.030(e),   which  is   mandatory   language.   He  said   AS                                                               
29.45.050(s) is a local option.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL  suggested  "adding  an  'a'  and  a  'b'  under                                                               
subsection (e)." He  agreed that there is no age  limit on "or to                                                               
a  resident."  He agreed  with  Mr.  Carlson's second  point  and                                                               
suggested line 13  could be modified to clarify  whether there is                                                               
an age limit.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON agreed that was a "good catch."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:33:40 AM                                                                                                                    
STEVE  VAN  SANT,  State  Assessor,  Division  of  Community  and                                                               
Regional Affairs, Department of  Commerce, Community and Economic                                                               
Development, answered questions related to  SB 73. He agreed that                                                               
Mr. Carlson is correct. He understood  the intent of the CS is to                                                               
remove the  60-years-of-age limitation because veterans  are much                                                               
younger today.  He noted a  difference between the  two statutes,                                                               
AS 29.45.030(e)  and AS  29.45.050(s). The  law under  the latter                                                               
(s) is more pointed and directly  aimed at those who have died in                                                               
the  line  of duty,  while  (e)  is  broader. He  estimated  that                                                               
previous to  version N, SB 73  would have had a  statewide effect                                                               
on taxes in less than a dozen cases; now he is not sure.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI requested further clarification.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN SANT  replied, as version N now reads,  it could apply to                                                               
more people.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON asked  for an  approximation  of how  many it  could                                                               
affect.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN SANT  thought it could apply to less  than 50 people, but                                                               
he said it is difficult to guess.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:36:51 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  asked what would  happen if someone died  due to                                                               
illness while serving on active duty.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN  SANT said  the original bill  could have  covered anyone                                                               
who  had a  ski  accident and  died.  He noted  he  has not  seen                                                               
version N to see if the language was tightened up.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  asked  who  decides   who  qualifies  for  the  tax                                                               
exemption.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN  SANT said it is  up to the local  assessor's office. The                                                               
Alaska Association of Assessing Office  would draft a standard so                                                               
all municipalities  handle the  issue the same  way, as  was done                                                               
with other exemption programs.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked  if Mr. Van Sant dealt with  the issue while he                                                               
was in Anchorage.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN SANT said yes, regarding senior citizen exemptions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:39:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON commented  that figuring out someone's  age is easier                                                               
than  determining   if  their  death   was  caused   directly  or                                                               
indirectly by combat exposure.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  noted a zero  fiscal note. He  suggested if                                                               
50 people qualify for the  exemption it would increase the amount                                                               
of property tax the state would have to pay.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN  SANT replied that it  would still be a  zero fiscal note                                                               
from  the  state's perspective  because  it  is not  funding  the                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if the  state pays property  taxes to                                                               
local municipalities.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN SANT said no.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:40:36 AM                                                                                                                    
JEFFREY  MITTMAN,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Civil  Liberties                                                               
Union  (ACLU) of  Alaska, testified  on SB  73. He  noted he  has                                                               
provided  written testimony.  He suggested  a minor  amendment to                                                               
protect  same   sex  military  families  who   qualify  for  this                                                               
exemption.  He   said  every  court   has  decided  that   it  is                                                               
unconstitutional  to exclude  those families.  He asked  that the                                                               
committee make the amendment.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:42:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked for clarification.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MITTMAN reiterated  that the  widow or  widower of  same sex                                                               
couples who were  married in other states would  be excluded from                                                               
the tax exemption, so a change in language would be required.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON said the information is found on line 12, page 2.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  if a same sex  marriage recognized in                                                               
another state  is recognized  in Alaska,  should the  couple move                                                               
here. He inquired if the language,  as it is written, would cover                                                               
that.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MITTMAN explained that the  Alaska Constitution would prevent                                                               
recognition  of  same sex  couples,  so  therefore the  bill,  as                                                               
currently written, would  not apply to those couples.  He gave an                                                               
example of a  couple who were married at West  Point and moved to                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:44:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT  RUBY,   Director,  Division  of  Community   and  Regional                                                               
Affairs,   Department  of   Commerce,  Community,   and  Economic                                                               
Development,  testified  on  SB  73. He  echoed  Mr.  Van  Sant's                                                               
comments.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  requested  clarification of  "active  duty                                                               
service" and  whether it applies  to National Guard  members, and                                                               
"injury or illness" definitions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON added  that Senator  Coghill's question  on page  1,                                                               
line 13, "or a resident" also needs clarification.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:46:30 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:47:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DYSON  said  the  committee   would  like  to  have  their                                                               
questions answered  by the  Attorney General's  Office and  get a                                                               
legal opinion in  writing. He asked Ms. Morledge if  she could do                                                               
that by the next meeting.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE said yes.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI read the language  as "a member of the armed                                                               
forces  of the  United  States  who dies  because  of illness  or                                                               
injuries  suffered  while serving  on  active  duty service."  He                                                               
asked  if   that  includes  suicide.   He  also   requested  more                                                               
information about proportionality.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   COGHILL   said   that    under   [AS   29.45.050]   the                                                               
municipalities   must    include   requirements    to   determine                                                               
eligibility. He suggested that language might be added.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked for clarification on "residency" and "age."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE noted that one of the changes made in the CS was to                                                                
remove the 60-year age limit. The sponsor wanted the provision                                                                  
to apply to any widow or widower.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked why that was not included in the first                                                                        
section.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORLEDGE was not clear which section Chair Dyson was                                                                        
referring to.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON held SB 73 in committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
               HCR 4-HMONG-AMERICAN VETERANS DAY                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:50:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON announced that the next order of business would be                                                                  
HCR 4.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GABRIELLE LEDOUX, sponsor of HCR 4, introduced                                                                   
the bill. She read from the following sponsor statement:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     House Concurrent Resolution 4 would recognize and                                                                          
     honor Hmong veterans who fought in support of United                                                                       
     States military operations in the Kingdom of Laos                                                                          
     between February 28, 1961, and May 15, 1975, by                                                                            
     proclaiming May 15 to be Hmong-American Veterans                                                                           
     Memorial Day.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Hmong were called "dammed good fighters" by the CIA.                                                                       
     They fought bravely in what was called the U.S.                                                                            
     "Secret War" in Laos against some of the toughest                                                                          
     North Vietnamese and Lao troops for 13 years and                                                                           
     suffered casualty rates five times higher than the                                                                         
     rate experienced by U.S. Soldiers.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The most conservative estimated numbers during the                                                                         
     U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War are 35,000 -                                                                           
     40,000 brave young Hmong killed in combat; 50,000 -                                                                        
     58,000 wounded; and 3,000 missing in action. After the                                                                     
     U.S. withdrawal from Southeast Asia, thousands more                                                                        
     Hmong were killed during genocide carried out by                                                                           
     communist forces during the Hmong attempt to flee to                                                                       
     neighboring Thailand.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The most recent numbers set the U.S. Hmong population                                                                      
     between 200,000 - 300,000, with the Alaska population                                                                      
     at almost 4,700 and rising. Many Hmong have immigrated                                                                     
     here following the Vietnam conflict after persecution                                                                      
     for supporting the U.S.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The "Secret War" is no longer a secret and recognition                                                                     
     of these brave fighting men is long overdue. That is                                                                       
     why I urge the passage of HCR 4 and by doing so                                                                            
     commemorating the service of these forgotten warriors.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DIRK  MOFFAT, Staff,  Representative Gabrielle  LeDoux, testified                                                               
on  HCR 4.  He noted  that members  of the  Hmong community  were                                                               
available to answer questions.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:54:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHARLIE MOUA,  President, Special Guerilla Unit  (SGU) - Veterans                                                               
and Family of  USA - California, testified in favor  of HCR 4. He                                                               
said  there  were  chapters  of  SGU  in  California,  Minnesota,                                                               
Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio,  and Kentucky. He related  that he was                                                               
a former  United States liaison  official in Laos. He  shared his                                                               
military history and work with  the United States Special Forces.                                                               
He gave his  reasons for wanting to serve with  the United States                                                               
to  fight  against  the  Communists in  Laos.  He  described  the                                                               
duration  of  the  SGU  forces  under  five  presidents  and  the                                                               
organization  of the  SGU  forces in  Laos  during difficult  and                                                               
dangerous times.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON voiced  appreciation for the historic  and brave role                                                               
the Hmong  people played in  Southeast Asia.  He said that  HCR 4                                                               
would set  aside a time  to recognize  the Hmong veterans  and to                                                               
inform the public about their heroic role and suffering.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:02:47 AM                                                                                                                   
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:03:05 AM                                                                                                                   
ARTHUR YANG, Advisor, Special Guerrilla  Unit Veterans and Family                                                               
of USA - Alaska, testified in support of HCR 4.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PASERT  LEE,  President,  Hmong Alaska  Community,  testified  in                                                               
favor of HCR  4. He thanked the bill sponsor  for introducing the                                                               
bill. He noted  that seven people gathered to  testify in support                                                               
of HCR 4.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON said many Hmong are  moving into Eagle River area. He                                                               
said he  would like to meet  with those testifying some  time. He                                                               
said he has always felt that  when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam                                                               
in  the 1970's,  the Hmong  were abandoned  and betrayed  in some                                                               
way.  He wondered,  if that  is true,  how the  Hmong people  got                                                               
beyond  the anger  and  resentment  and decided  to  move to  the                                                               
country that betrayed them.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. YANG explained that they had  to leave Laos so they would not                                                               
be executed.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  thanked Mr. Yang  for choosing  the U.S. He  said he                                                               
wished to meet with the Hmong community.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:06:16 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report  HCR 4, labeled 28-LS0504\U, from                                                               
committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached  zero                                                               
fiscal note.  There being no  objection, HCR 4 was  reported from                                                               
the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:06:31 AM                                                                                                                   
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          SB 45-FEE/TAX EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN VEHICLES                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:07:40 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR DYSON announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                               
SB 45.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
GENEVIEVE  WOJTUSIK,  Staff,  Senator  Lesil  McGuire,  presented                                                               
information related  to SB 45.  She offered to  answer questions.                                                               
She referred to an article  by GM Communications dealing with how                                                               
alternative fuel cars  are affected by cold  weather, in response                                                               
to a previous question by Senator Giessel.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON requested  answers to several questions  that came up                                                               
during the previous hearing of the bill.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WOJTUSIK  answered  the  question  about  the  fiscal  note,                                                               
stating that  last year's fiscal  note was much lower  at $20,000                                                               
compared to this  year's fiscal note which is  over $100,000. The                                                               
committee  noted  there  were  not  that  many  alternative  fuel                                                               
vehicles in  Alaska. The  sponsor is hoping  that this  bill will                                                               
motivate more people  to buy alternative fuel  vehicles. She said                                                               
the  committee has  drafted  a new  fiscal  note reflecting  last                                                               
year's fiscal note.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:08:56 AM                                                                                                                   
CURTIS THAYER,  Deputy Commissioner, Office of  the Commissioner,                                                               
Department of  Administration, explained  the fiscal note  for SB
45. The Department  of Administration submitted a  fiscal note on                                                               
February 22, 2013,  stating the costs to the  department would be                                                               
about  $110,000  in the  first  year  and $25,000  in  successive                                                               
years. He stated  that the department stands by  that fiscal note                                                               
and was unaware of the new fiscal note.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON noted a site  where the Vehicle Identification Number                                                               
(VIN) information is  found for free. He asked if  this bill will                                                               
require the department to check every VIN number in the state.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THAYER  explained that  the  department  would look  at  VIN                                                               
numbers to  see who qualifies  for the special  registration fee.                                                               
There are programs that will run  the VIN number to determine the                                                               
type of  vehicle. The $110,000  was to  buy the program  and then                                                               
$25,000  was  for  the  subscription. He  noted  that  there  are                                                               
multiple vendors and he hoped the  proposed fiscal note is on the                                                               
high side. He said it is getting harder to track VIN numbers.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  commented that  the people  who want  this exemption                                                               
will identify  their specific vehicle,  and all that needs  to be                                                               
done is to  interact with the manufactures. He asked  if there is                                                               
an  identifier  in  the  VIN  number  that  tells  if  it  is  an                                                               
alternative fuel vehicle.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. THAYER  said there is,  and a  program can decipher  that VIN                                                               
number and process it immediately.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:12:07 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  emphasized that  the fiscal note  two years                                                               
ago was  $20,000 with  no cost thereafter;  the fiscal  note this                                                               
year  is  for  $110,000  with   a  cost  of  $25,000  every  year                                                               
thereafter. He said  he supports the bill, but  thinks the fiscal                                                               
note is extremely high and unjustified.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON said  he shares  that opinion.  He noted  Mr. Thayer                                                               
said it was the high limit.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:13:04 AM                                                                                                                   
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:13:28 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GIESSEL  asked for clarification  about the  $20 biennial                                                               
registration  fee on  line  6,  and on  line  9,  the $10  annual                                                               
registration fee. She suggested it was referring to one fee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WOJTUSKI agreed that they were the same fee.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:14:30 AM                                                                                                                   
HOWARD  LENOX,  Regional   Director,  Government  Affairs-Western                                                               
Region, General Motors, testified in  support of SB 45. He listed                                                               
the types of qualified alternative  fuel vehicles the fee applies                                                               
to: CNG, LNG,  electric and plug-in hybrid  electric vehicles. He                                                               
noted the  national security issue  due to dependence  on foreign                                                               
oil.  He  said  that  vehicle  manufacturers  are  responding  by                                                               
producing alternative fuel  vehicles. Due to their  cost there is                                                               
a  need to  encourage  consumers  to take  action  in the  market                                                               
place. He  stressed the importance  incentives play  in promoting                                                               
the  use of  alternative fuel  vehicles. He  said SB  45 provides                                                               
such an  incentive. An important  aspect of  the bill is  that it                                                               
does not pick winners or losers from a technology perspective.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He noted that  Alaska will join 30 states that  have some form of                                                               
incentive  for  alternative  fuel vehicles.  He  thanked  Senator                                                               
McGuire and the committee.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  pointed out  that he and  Senator Giessel  have been                                                               
working  on  alternative  fuel  issues. He  asked  Mr.  Lenox  to                                                               
forward a  list of incentives  other jurisdictions  have offered,                                                               
and he requested an analysis of the hydrogen fuel vehicle.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:18:13 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  DYSON asked  what the  committee  wishes to  do about  the                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GIESSEL noted  she  has more  questions.  She asked  Mr.                                                               
Thayer why  the fiscal  note does not  address the  lost revenues                                                               
from the reduced registration fees.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THAYER  said the  fiscal  note  is indeterminate  until  the                                                               
number of vehicles is known.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GIESSEL noted  on  page 2  of the  fiscal  note it  says                                                               
"there are currently 2,301  strictly hybrid vehicles registered."                                                               
She  concluded  that  there  is   some  quantity  that  could  be                                                               
construed  for  a  fiscal  note.   She  asked  what  the  typical                                                               
registration fee is.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. THAYER  said, depending  on the vehicle,  the vehicle  tax is                                                               
$50 to $60,  plus the Motor Vehicle Registration  Tax (MVRT), the                                                               
community tax  which can vary from  $18 to $100. There  is a loss                                                               
of revenue to DMV, as well as to the communities.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GIESSEL  clarified  that local  communities  would  lose                                                               
revenue.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. THAYER  commented that it  depends on the  registration. That                                                               
is  why  DMV   was  trying  to  quantify  the  cost   as  far  as                                                               
administering  the  program.  The  department  does  not  have  a                                                               
position on  the bill and  would probably lean  toward supporting                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  noted that these  are expensive cars.  She asked                                                               
what the average cost is.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. WOJTUSKI did not know.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON replied that the cheapest  ones are in the $20,000 to                                                               
$30,000  range and  the most  expensive are  around $750,000.  He                                                               
guessed that most fall into the $25,000 to $55,000 range.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:21:37 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GIESSEL observed that the  reduction in registration fees                                                               
would benefit affluent folks. She voiced concern about that.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  said it is a  policy call whether this  minor change                                                               
will affect anyone's  buying habits. The bill does  send a signal                                                               
that the state wants to encourage alternative fuels.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked if the fiscal note should be amended.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he compared  last year's fiscal note to                                                               
this year's. He agreed it was  a policy call and said he supports                                                               
the bill, but would like to see a reduced fiscal note.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GIESSEL  suggested moving  the  bill  on to  the  Senate                                                               
Finance Committee.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  he  would not  object  to moving  the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON suggested sending a  cover letter along with the bill                                                               
to  include the  committee's  suggestions. He  encouraged DMV  to                                                               
research VIN services that are available for no cost.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:24:37 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report  SB 45, version 28-LS0411\A, from                                                               
committee  with  individual   recommendations  and  attached  DOA                                                               
fiscal notes. There  being no objection, SB 45  was reported from                                                               
the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:25:13 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Dyson adjourned the Senate State Affairs Standing                                                                         
Committee at 10:24 a.m.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 73 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 73
SB 73 CRA CS.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 73
SB 73 CS Changes.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 73
SB 73 Fiscal Note-1-2-032713-CED-N.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 73
SB 73 Dayton Letter.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 73
SB 73 KTVA Article.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 73
SB 73 2012ElectionResultsOFFICIAL.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 73
SB 73 BR_Final_3-17-12.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 73
HCR 4 - Sponsor Statement - Hmong Veterans Day.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 Ver U - Hmong-American Veterans Memorial Day.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Supporting Docment 1 Hmong Research Report.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Supporting Docment 2 Article - Facts And Details - Hmong and the Vietnam War.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Supporting Docment 3 Article - Minnesota’s Hmong veterans seek recognition.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Supporting Docment 4 Article - Why Are the Hmong in America.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Supporting Docment 5 Article - Lao Veterans of America.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Supporting Docment 6 Article - Laos Secret War.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Supporting Document 7 - Majority Press Release for Rep. LeDoux.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Letter of Support 1 - SGUVFD of USA - National President.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Letter of Support 2 - Steven Yang (SGU) Charter in Alaska.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Letter of Support 3 - Arthur Yang (SGU) Charter in Alaska.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
HCR 4 - Witness List - Hmong-American Veterans Memorial Day.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
HCR 4
SB 45 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 45
SB 45 Version A.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 45
SB 45 - Fiscal Note DOA-DMV-2-23-13.pdf SSTA 3/28/2013 9:00:00 AM
SB 45