Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

01/31/2019 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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03:31:11 PM Start
03:32:24 PM Confirmation Hearing(s)
04:27:51 PM SCR1
04:50:29 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Commissioner-Designee Saxe, Department of
Military and Veterans' Affairs
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                        January 31, 2019                                                                                        
                           3:31 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Mike Shower, Chair                                                                                                      
Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Lora Reinbold                                                                                                           
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
Commissioner Designee, Department of Military & Veterans Affairs                                                                
Brigadier General Torrence "Tory" W. Saxe - JBER                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 1                                                                                              
Proposing an amendment to the Uniform Rules of the Alaska State                                                                 
Legislature relating to the appearance of measures on the daily                                                                 
calendar after the ninetieth day of the regular session.                                                                        
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SCR  1                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: UNIFORM RULE AMENDMENT; BUDGET                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SHOWER                                                                                                   
01/16/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/19       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
01/31/19       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
BRIGADIER GENERAL  TORRENCE "Tory" W. SAXE,  Commissioner Designee                                                              
and Adjutant General                                                                                                            
Department of Military & Veterans Affairs                                                                                       
JBER, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  as  nominee to  the  position  of                                                            
commissioner of the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.                                                                  
SCOTT OGAN, Staff                                                                                                               
Senator Mike Shower                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SCR 1 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                
THERESA USIBELLI, representing self                                                                                             
Healy, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT: Testified  in support  of the appointment  of                                                            
Brigadier  General  Saxe  as commissioner  of  the  Department  of                                                              
Military & Veterans Affairs.                                                                                                    
DAVE GARGANTA, representing self                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Testified  in support  of the appointment  of                                                            
Brigadier  General  Saxe  as commissioner  of  the  Department  of                                                              
Military & Veterans Affairs.                                                                                                    
VIKKI JO KENNEDY, representing self                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified that  she supports the  appointment                                                            
of Brigadier  General Saxe  as commissioner  of the Department  of                                                              
Military & Veterans Affairs.                                                                                                    
CHAD CANNAN, representing self                                                                                                  
Houston, Texas                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT: Testified  in support  of the appointment  of                                                            
Brigadier  General  Saxe  as commissioner  of  the  Department  of                                                              
Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA).                                                                                             
CHARLES STRONG, representing self                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Testified  in support  of the appointment  of                                                            
Brigadier  General  Saxe  as commissioner  of  the  Department  of                                                              
Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA).                                                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:31:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MIKE  SHOWER  called  the  Senate  State  Affairs  Standing                                                            
Committee meeting  to order  at 3:31 p.m.  Present at the  call to                                                              
order  were  Senators  Coghill,   Reinbold,  Kawasaki,  and  Chair                                                              
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                        
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                 
    Commissioner, Department of Military & Veterans Affairs                                                                 
3:32:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   SHOWER   invited   General  Torrence   "Tory"   W.   Saxe,                                                              
commissioner designee  and adjutant  General of the  Department of                                                              
Military  &  Veterans   Affairs,  to  tell  the   committee  about                                                              
3:32:47 PM                                                                                                                  
BRIGIDIER  GENERAL TORRENCE  W.  SAXE, Commissioner  Designee  and                                                              
adjutant  general,  Department  of Military  &  Veterans  Affairs,                                                              
said first he wanted  to relay the good news that  President Trump                                                              
has  granted the  request  for  individual and  public  assistance                                                              
after the earthquake.                                                                                                           
3:33:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE joined the committee.                                                                                          
GENERAL   SAXE   reported   that  the   declaration   means   that                                                              
individuals and  Alaskan families are  eligible for up  to $34,000                                                              
in  federal  assistance.  State   assistance  for  individuals  is                                                              
limited to about  $17,000. He explained that after  the earthquake                                                              
those in  need were put into  shelters and temporary  housing. The                                                              
next  phase is  to get  people out  of hotels  and into  temporary                                                              
housing. For  those who are eligible,  federal grants cover  up to                                                              
three  months  of  rent  and  up  to  18  months  for  those  with                                                              
mortgages. That cap is up to $34,900.                                                                                           
3:35:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  asked  if  people   should  use  the  ready.gov                                                              
GENERAL  SAXE  said  yes.  He  added   that  with  the  Governor's                                                              
concurrence  there   is  a  one-month   extension  to   apply  for                                                              
assistance. Currently,  there are about 13,000 applicants  and the                                                              
number is growing daily.                                                                                                        
3:35:38 PM                                                                                                                    
GENERAL SAXE  stated that he  has been  in the military  almost 30                                                              
years. He comes  from a military family and initially  enlisted in                                                              
the Army.  His father is a  retired infantry officer, his  wife is                                                              
in  the Army,  and her  96-year-old  grandmother was  a Marine  in                                                              
World War II.                                                                                                                   
He said he  was a reservist when  his unit was deployed  in Desert                                                              
Storm and  Desert Shield and  the experience  of being a  medic in                                                              
the operating  room gave  him quick  focus about  war and  what he                                                              
needed to  do to  be prepared. He  has tried  to apply  the saying                                                              
"Be ready  for war because  war is ready  for you."  to everything                                                              
he's done in his career.                                                                                                        
He  subsequently  finished  his  degree  from  Eastern  Washington                                                              
University  and was  cross-commissioned  into the  Air Force.  His                                                              
first job was  as a missileer in  a missile silo in  Montana. That                                                              
training  provided  rigid discipline  for  his assignment  to  the                                                              
radome at Clear  Air Force Station ("Clear"). After  a year he was                                                              
sent to  England to do  space surveillance.  Next, he was  sent to                                                              
Peterson Air  Force Base,  Colorado where  he worked in  personnel                                                              
as executive officer.  When word came that Clear was  going to the                                                              
National Guard,  he applied and was  able to return to  Alaska, he                                                              
said. Eventually,  he became the guard commander  and installation                                                              
commander  at Clear.  In that  capacity he  was in  charge of  the                                                              
guard,  active  duty,  Canadians,  and  civilians.  He  said  he's                                                              
always taken that  as a good sign because he knows  that things go                                                              
well when  you develop a good  relationship with your  active duty                                                              
counterparts.  This is  borne out  in his  current position  where                                                              
active duty often drives what is relevant on the national stage.                                                                
GENERAL  SAXE related  that  when he  left  Clear he  went to  War                                                              
College at  Maxwell Air  Force Base, Alabama  and is  grateful for                                                              
the  experience.  He  had  a  year   to  concentrate  on  critical                                                              
thinking  and to prepare  for future  commands. After  graduation,                                                              
his  assignment was  aircraft maintenance  at JBER  for C-17s,  C-                                                              
130s, and  helicopters. After  that he  became the wing  commander                                                              
at Eielson  overseeing the KC-135s,  refueling, and  the personnel                                                              
at  Clear.  Next,  he  became the  commander  of  the  Alaska  Air                                                              
National Guard and  then moved into his current  position. He said                                                              
this is  his seventh command and  his philosophy continues  to be,                                                              
"You  take care  of the  people  and they  will take  care of  the                                                              
mission."  He opined  that is  important to  be a  people-centered                                                              
guard commander  because people tend  to stay a long  time. Active                                                              
duty moves  every 2-3  years whereas  guard personnel  potentially                                                              
will be in the same unit their entire careers.                                                                                  
GENERAL  SAXE  said his  theme  going  forward is  "Team  Alaska,"                                                              
which  will   be  inclusive  and   focused  on  the   mission.  He                                                              
highlighted that  the Alaska Air  National Guard has both  a state                                                              
and  federal mission.  It is  the one  part of  the Department  of                                                              
Defense  with  that  distinction.  Day-to-day,  his  commander  in                                                              
chief is the Governor  and he wants to focus on  state operations,                                                              
earthquake preparedness,  and response.  General Saxe said  he has                                                              
informed guard  staff that work  directly for him that  there will                                                              
have an earthquake  exercise in the near future. Within  75 days a                                                              
larger  exercise  will be  held  that  also includes  active  duty                                                              
personnel. He  opined that  it's important to  do that as  a dual-                                                              
status  commander.  All forces  should  be brought  to  bear on  a                                                              
domestic response.                                                                                                              
He said  the second  aspect of  his vision  focuses on  the people                                                              
and  whether they  want to  go to  work. He  wants to  get rid  of                                                              
toxic  behavior  at any  level  and  has  no tolerance  for  toxic                                                              
behavior, sexual  harassment, or sexual assault. He  said his wife                                                              
gave  him permission  to  share  that  she was  sexually  harassed                                                              
during her  Army career. It  affected her  moral and the  moral of                                                              
her section.  He said he will not  tolerate that in any  unit, and                                                              
he won't tolerate anyone who fails to act if it happens.                                                                        
GENERAL SAXE said  he wants people to understand  that he believes                                                              
in empowering  people and has  already passed on  his expectations                                                              
to  his unit.  Everyone who  identifies  a problem  gets a  letter                                                              
grade C, a B if  they do that and give a course  of action, and an                                                              
A  if  they do  both  and  let  him  know what  they've  done.  He                                                              
acknowledged that  empowerment alone  is not enough.  The missions                                                              
must be  relevant, particularly  in the  relationship with  active                                                              
duty. The F-35  are coming to Alaska  in a few years  and he would                                                              
like to  be part of  a total force  integration with  them, either                                                              
flying or  fixing those  fighters. Refueling  is also on  the list                                                              
of importance. There  is a current need to refuel  the KC-135s and                                                              
the need  will be even  greater when the  F-35s arrive.  If active                                                              
duty  decides  that  the  KC-46  follow-on  refueler  will  go  to                                                              
Eielson, he wants  to be part of  that. He said he is  ready today                                                              
for  total force  integration with  the current  tanker, but  they                                                              
are older and will eventually be phased out.                                                                                    
3:42:59 PM                                                                                                                    
GENERAL  SAXE  said future  missions  at  Clear include  the  Long                                                              
Range  Discrimination  Radar  that  will  be  connected  into  the                                                              
Aleutians  and  the existing  radar  that  will have  a  dedicated                                                              
landline into  Fort Greely.  The Alaska  Army National  Guard just                                                              
received  two Lakota  helicopters  and  he has  asked  them to  be                                                              
placed on  alert to work  with the Air  Force for in-state  search                                                              
and rescue.  He said he  agrees with Billy  Mitchel who  said that                                                              
Alaska is the most  strategic spot on the globe.  There is a shift                                                              
to the  Pacific and  it's important that  all the agencies  within                                                              
the DMVA are focused on the future.                                                                                             
CHAIR  SHOWER  thanked  General  Saxe  and  asked  if  there  were                                                              
3:44:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  asked if  he had  any ideas  about how  to better                                                              
integrate with the  active duty Air Force in both  the Pacific and                                                              
GENERAL  SAXE said  the  C-17 is  a good  example  of Total  Force                                                              
Integration.  It started as  active duty only  owned iron  and has                                                              
transitioned  to guard owned  iron with no  impact on  the mission                                                              
capable  rate to  fix and  fly the  aircraft. His  said his  focus                                                              
would be  anything that could project  that power such  as the KC-                                                              
46, F-22  and F-35. With regard  to the Arctic, it's  important to                                                              
be  able  to get  to  the  places  that are  impacted  by  climate                                                              
change, he said.                                                                                                                
3:46:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  highlighted  that manning  missile  defense  and                                                              
Eyes  in the  Sky at  Clear has  increased the  mission in  Alaska                                                              
significantly. He  asked what other projects might  be coming from                                                              
the Air Force.                                                                                                                  
GENERAL  SAXE  replied  the  largest project  is  the  Long  Range                                                              
Discrimination  Radar, and  the  Guard is  not  currently part  of                                                              
that. If  it is going  to be manned  by Air Force  personnel, that                                                              
is where  he would like  to take the  initiative, he  said. Nearly                                                              
100  percent of  the mission  at  Clear is  operated by  guardsmen                                                              
with a small  cadre of Canadians  and active duty. Active  duty is                                                              
likely to leave Clear  in the future, so it is  a good mission for                                                              
the  guard to  take on.  It is  cutting  edge. He  noted that  the                                                              
relationship between  Clear and  Fort Greely is almost  completely                                                              
manned  by  guardsmen, which  is  the  type of  relationship  he's                                                              
interested in.  The saying  at Fort Greely  is that "It's  the 300                                                              
protecting the 300 million," and he agrees completely.                                                                          
SENATOR  COGHILL noted  that the  university has  worked with  the                                                              
Army  on  drones  and with  the  Federal  Aviation  Administration                                                              
(FAA)on training  for air  space issues. He  asked if  he foresees                                                              
the Army National  Guard taking a role in the  management of drone                                                              
GENERAL SAXE said he would not pursue that at this time.                                                                        
SENATOR COGHILL  asked him to talk  about the benefit of  the Army                                                              
War College.                                                                                                                    
GENERAL SAXE explained  that every service except  the Marines has                                                              
a War  College for select lieutenants  and colonels. He  said that                                                              
once  you are  accepted, you  have a  year to  focus on  strategic                                                              
studies and critical  thinking. Participants are  challenged daily                                                              
by  their  peers   and  professors  and  a  large   percentage  of                                                              
graduates  do go  on  to higher  command.  He  said he  completely                                                              
endorses  it  and  believes the  rigorous  experience  helped  him                                                              
personally  and professionally.  He  also came  away with  another                                                              
master's degree.                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL described  his  own experience  at  the Army  War                                                              
GENERAL  SAXE  reiterated  that  he  is a  proponent  of  any  War                                                              
3:51:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI asked  how the  previous  commissioner did  with                                                              
regard  to the  sexual assault  issues  in the  Alaska Guard,  and                                                              
what he will do to ensure that won't happen again.                                                                              
GENERAL SAXE said  he knows his predecessor did  several things to                                                              
refine  the response.  He believes  that  it is  critical for  the                                                              
commander  to set  a  good example  and  to hold  all  subordinate                                                              
commanders to  the same  standard. What he's  seen in  other units                                                              
is that everyone  knows about a behavior, but no  action is taken.                                                              
He said  that under his  command, a commander  who does  that will                                                              
be held accountable for not enforcing the culture.                                                                              
He  discussed the  education and  training he'd  like to  further.                                                              
Currently  there  is a  sexual  assault response  coordinator  and                                                              
victim  advocates.  He explained  that  there  are two  paths  for                                                              
victims  of   sexual  assault   -  restricted  and   unrestricted.                                                              
Restricted  means that the  incident is  truly between  the victim                                                              
and a  small number  of people whereas  the unrestricted  path can                                                              
open up  to the chain  of command. He  emphasized that the  key is                                                              
that the  victim decides the path,  not the commander.  He said he                                                              
wants  to  make  sure  that there  is  a  culture  where  everyone                                                              
understands  that sexual  assault  is never  appropriate and  will                                                              
not be tolerated.  It is his job  to ensure that culture  is never                                                              
close to the line.  Training is ongoing to make sure  that this is                                                              
a safe place for all to work, he said.                                                                                          
3:53:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked  why he decided to switch from  the Army to                                                              
the Air Force.                                                                                                                  
GENERAL  SAXE said  there was  a  family connection  with the  Air                                                              
SENATOR  KAWASAKI asked  if he knows  the result  of the  Army/Air                                                              
Force game that was played in Fairbanks several weeks ago.                                                                      
GENERAL SAXE  answered he did not  know the outcome, but  heard it                                                              
was a lot of fun, just like those games always are.                                                                             
SENATOR  KAWASAKI  reported  that  the Army  slaughtered  the  Air                                                              
3:54:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD asked what his largest challenges will be.                                                                     
GENERAL  SAXE  said  the  number  one  challenge  is  recruitment.                                                              
Improvements have  been made the  last several years but  there is                                                              
more to  do. He shared  a success story  of recruiting  at Eielson                                                              
over a  period of  18 months.  He credited  good leadership,  good                                                              
recruiters, and the  belief that it can be done.  Retention is not                                                              
a challenge at this  time; it is about 95 percent.  That is a good                                                              
sign.  The number  two challenge  is  to have  a relevant  weapons                                                              
system. The  Alaska Air  Guard currently does  not have  a fighter                                                              
community  which is  why he  wants  to be  part of  the F-35.  The                                                              
number  three challenge  is to  build  the bench  of officers  and                                                              
enlisted personnel  and ensure they  see there is a  path forward.                                                              
The  number four  challenge is  rural engagement.  Forces are  now                                                              
concentrated  in Anchorage  and  Fairbanks and  it's important  to                                                              
get out with better  capacity and be the Department  of Military &                                                              
Veterans  Affairs  for  all  of  Alaska.  He  has  asked  homeland                                                              
security  to  look  at  rural  airports   and  get  out  to  rural                                                              
communities  more. With some  support from  active duty,  he wants                                                              
to be prepared  for a domestic contingency or  a federal response.                                                              
The Alaska  Air National Guard currently  can fly into  Bethel and                                                              
Galena  and  he plans  to  also  take recruiters,  the  Office  of                                                              
Veterans' Affairs, and the Alaska State Defense Force.                                                                          
SENATOR  REINBOLD asked  what  his plan  is  for getting  relevant                                                              
weapons as well as his plan for the Arctic.                                                                                     
GENERAL SAXE  said the best thing they  can do is be  in the rural                                                              
part of  Alaska and  enhance the state  defense force.  Right now,                                                              
there are about  111 people and he would like to  increase that to                                                              
about 500.  With the Governor's  number one priority  being public                                                              
safety,  it  is  appropriate  to  look with  public  safety  at  a                                                              
constabulary  defense  force.  The   preliminary  discussions  are                                                              
With  regard  to  relevant  weapons,  he  said  he  believes  that                                                              
building  a trusting  relationship with  active duty  (such as  he                                                              
described earlier  as commander  at Clear)  can make that  happen.                                                              
Going  forward  he  will  use  that   template;  he  wants  to  be                                                              
embedding  with  active  duty  counterparts  to  ensure  that  the                                                              
Alaska Air  National Guard is on  board with emerging  systems. He                                                              
offered his  perspective that, "We're  all on the same  team, just                                                              
different positions."                                                                                                           
4:02:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SHOWER asked  him to  highlight  where the  Navy and  the                                                              
Coast  Guard  are showing  interest  in  the  Arctic and  the  ice                                                              
breaking capacity the U.S. is lacking.                                                                                          
GENERAL SAXE  said it  is public knowledge  that compared  to some                                                              
potential  adversaries,  the  U.S.  does  not  have  a  comparable                                                              
icebreaker  force. If the  Arctic waterways  continue to  open up,                                                              
the  Alaska   Air  National  Guard   can  be  part   of  satellite                                                              
surveillance and  forward deployment  of the State  Defense Force.                                                              
They are  the eyes  and ears  for homeland  security. Active  duty                                                              
Navy and the Coast Guard assume more direct involvement.                                                                        
He highlighted that  the state's defense force  personnel recently                                                              
saw a Russian  ship that was close  to the border and  reported it                                                              
up the  chain to  Alaska command.  That is  a tangible  example of                                                              
the importance of a forward presence, he said.                                                                                  
SENATOR  MICCICHE  asked if  he  believes  he  will be  given  the                                                              
necessary  tools to complete  his mission  and guiding  principles                                                              
for the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.                                                                              
GENERAL  SAXE replied,  "I definitely  will lead  what I am  given                                                              
and  work within  the budget  I  am given  as well."  He said  his                                                              
tiered  approach   is  to  look   at  the  effect   on  readiness,                                                              
relevancy, and recruiting.                                                                                                      
SENATOR MICCICHE  mentioned the educational benefits  of enlisting                                                              
and  asked  if  there  is  potential  for  partnerships  with  the                                                              
university  to make course  work more  relevant and keep  students                                                              
in the state.                                                                                                                   
GENERAL  SAXE  said his  daughter  joined  the Guard  because  she                                                              
wanted  to   serve  her   country  and   state  and  because   the                                                              
educational benefits  are very good.  He added  that more emphasis                                                              
on science and math would help with relevancy.                                                                                  
4:06:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SHOWER   asked  what   challenges  the  legislature   and                                                              
governor may  need to address to  accommodate the budget  the DMVA                                                              
GENERAL SAXE said  the criteria he looks at is  whether the budget                                                              
is sufficient  to address readiness  and relevancy and  whether he                                                              
can positively impact  recruiting. He noted that  the state budget                                                              
is  about  $15  million,  and the  federal  budget  is  almost  $1                                                              
CHAIR SHOWER asked if he feels he's in good shape at this time.                                                                 
GENERAL SAXE said yes.                                                                                                          
4:08:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER opened public testimony on the appointment.                                                                        
THERESA USIBELLI,  representing self, Healy, testified  in support                                                              
of the  appointment of Brigadier  General Saxe as  commissioner of                                                              
the Department  of Military &  Veterans Affairs. She  related that                                                              
she  is a  family friend  and would  trust him  with her  family's                                                              
life. He  is kind, courteous,  trustworthy, level-headed,  and the                                                              
best person for the position.                                                                                                   
4:12:08 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVE  GARGANTA, representing  self, Anchorage,  testified that  he                                                              
is retired  from the Alaska Air  National Guard after 38  years of                                                              
service,  and it  is an  honor to  speak in  support of  Brigadier                                                              
General  Saxe's confirmation.  He  has never  worked  for a  finer                                                              
person.  His  leadership,   mentorship,  and  dedication   to  the                                                              
mission is  beyond compare.  He is well-rounded  and has  the best                                                              
interest of  the military, veterans,  and the nation at  heart. He                                                              
is truly an officer and a gentleman.                                                                                            
4:14:34 PM                                                                                                                    
VIKKI  JO  KENNEDY,  representing   self,  Juneau,  said  she  too                                                              
supports   the   appointment   of  Brigadier   General   Saxe   as                                                              
commissioner  of the Department  of Military  & Veterans  Affairs,                                                              
but wants him to  tell the public why, when missile  defense is so                                                              
imperative  to the  state, he is  relying solely  on Fort  Greely.                                                              
She suggested moving half the force to Juneau.                                                                                  
4:16:09 PM}                                                                                                                   
CHAD  CANNAN, representing  self, Houston,  Texas, testified  that                                                              
General Saxe has  many personal and professional  values that make                                                              
him uniquely qualified  for the position. First, he  has found the                                                              
elusive  leadership  balance  between executing  the  mission  and                                                              
growing  the people  who  are executing  the  mission. Second,  he                                                              
always  does things  the right  way,  emphasizing that  it is  not                                                              
just what is  accomplished but how it is accomplished.  Third, his                                                              
high  regard for  family  is  an indelible  sign  of  the type  of                                                              
person he is, and it speaks to his character.                                                                                   
4:19:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES STRONG,  representing self, California, testified  that he                                                              
worked with General  Saxe for 15 years and was  impressed with his                                                              
professional bearing  and record. He can be counted  on to get the                                                              
job done. He always  plays in the middle of the  field and expects                                                              
his  people to  do the  same. General  Saxe  also understands  the                                                              
challenges of working  with active duty. He is  uniquely qualified                                                              
and there is no better person for  the position, Mr. Strong said.                                                               
4:22:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER closed public testimony.                                                                                           
GENERAL   SAXE  responded   to   Ms.  Kennedy's   question   about                                                              
redundancy by  explaining that the  Alaska Air National  Guard has                                                              
interceptors  at Fort  Greely  and Vandenberg  Air  Force Base  in                                                              
central  California so  all of Alaska  and down  to California  is                                                              
4:23:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD listed  the  medals she  saw  on General  Saxe's                                                              
uniform and asked how he achieved them.                                                                                         
GENERAL SAXE  replied medals  are typically  awarded for  superior                                                              
performance during  an assignment. Meritorious service  medals are                                                              
usually given  for someone  who is a  field-grade officer  who has                                                              
done a  good job in  command. The  achievement medal  typically is                                                              
awarded to  a more  junior officer and  the commendation  medal is                                                              
the mid-tier  officer. He  said he  received the combat  readiness                                                              
medal  when he  was  in  in a  combat  missile crew  dealing  with                                                              
nuclear weapons.                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD  said it's  an honor  to have  you before  us and                                                              
many of us are in awe of your biography.                                                                                        
CHAIR SHOWER  encouraged  the public to  submit written  testimony                                                              
to his office.                                                                                                                  
4:25:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER stated  that in  accordance with  AS 39.05.080,  the                                                              
Senate  State Affairs  Standing Committee  reviewed the  following                                                              
and  recommends  the  appointment(s)   be  forwarded  to  a  joint                                                              
session for consideration:                                                                                                      
Commissioner  &   Adjutant  General,  Department  of   Military  &                                                            
Veterans Affairs                                                                                                              
Torrence W. Saxe - JBER                                                                                                         
This does  not reflect  an intent  by any of  the members  to vote                                                              
for or  against the confirmation  of the individual(s)  during any                                                              
further sessions.                                                                                                               
4:26:10 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
             SCR  1-UNIFORM RULE AMENDMENT; BUDGET                                                                          
4:27:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER announced  the  consideration  of SENATE  CONCURRENT                                                              
RESOLUTION NO. 1;  Proposing an amendment to the  Uniform Rules of                                                              
the  Alaska  State  Legislature  relating  to  the  appearance  of                                                              
measures  on the daily  calendar  after the ninetieth  day  of the                                                              
regular session. He noted that he is the sponsor.                                                                               
4:28:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT   OGAN,   Staff,   Senator   Mike   Shower,   Alaska   State                                                              
Legislature,  Juneau, introduced  SCR 1 on  behalf of  the sponsor                                                              
speaking   to   the   following   sponsor   statement:   [Original                                                              
punctuation provided.]                                                                                                          
     Proposing  an  amendment to  the  Uniform Rules  of  the                                                                   
     Alaska  Legislature   relating  to  the   appearance  of                                                                   
     measures  on the daily  calendar after  the 90th  day of                                                                   
     the regular session.                                                                                                       
     The  Legislature has  a constitutional  duty  to pass  a                                                                   
     budget.  With  this  proposed guidance  in  the  Uniform                                                                   
     Rules,   the    legislature   can   only    consider   a                                                                   
     constitutionally  mandated appropriation  bill past  the                                                                   
     90-day mark.                                                                                                               
     Legislators will  know there is  a hard deadline  to get                                                                   
     their legislation  on the calendar for  consideration by                                                                   
     committees.  Focus after  90  days will  be directed  at                                                                   
     passing a constitutionally required budget.                                                                                
     This measure  would honor the intent of the  voters when                                                                   
     they passed  an initiative in 2006 to limit  the session                                                                   
     to  90 days.  While  the  initiative's 90-day  limit  is                                                                   
     currently  in  statute,  it  creates  tension  with  the                                                                   
     Article  II   Sec  8  constitutional   provision,  which                                                                   
     provides  that  the  "legislature   shall  adjourn  from                                                                   
     regular  session  no  later   than  one  hundred  twenty                                                                   
     consecutive  calendar days  from the  date it  convenes,                                                                   
     except the regular  session may be extended  once for up                                                                   
     to  ten  consecutive  calendar  days."  The  legislative                                                                   
     practice of  late has been to ignore  the voter-mandated                                                                   
     90-day limit.                                                                                                              
     By   amending   the   Uniform  Rules   of   the   Alaska                                                                   
     Legislature as  this resolution proposes to do,  no bill                                                                   
     other  than  an appropriation  bill  may appear  on  the                                                                   
     daily  calendar  after  the  90th  day  of  the  regular                                                                   
     session. As a  result, this may cause work  on the floor                                                                   
     to cease  for any non-appropriation  measure unless  the                                                                   
     Uniform Rules  are suspended with a 2/3 majority  of the                                                                   
     represented  house  body  where   the  measure  resides.                                                                   
     However,  committee work on  legislation would  still be                                                                   
     permitted  at  the discretion  of  the chair.  Bills  on                                                                   
     high profile  issues can always be brought  to the floor                                                                   
     if a super majority of legislators agree.                                                                                  
     This  measure  focuses the  legislature's  attention  on                                                                   
     only  the budget,  if the  budget takes  longer than  90                                                                   
     days.  It  also  provides   a  circuit  breaker  against                                                                   
     excessive  special sessions  by  allowing high  priority                                                                   
     legislation  that  receives  a  2/3 vote  to  waive  the                                                                   
     Uniform Rules to come to the floor.                                                                                        
MR.  OGAN noted  that the  bill amends  Uniform Rule  18 and  that                                                              
Uniform  Rule  54   addresses  suspension  of  the   rules  [by  a                                                              
concurrent resolution  approved by a  two-thirds vote of  the full                                                              
membership of each house.]                                                                                                      
CHAIR SHOWER asked if the resolution had a sectional analysis or                                                                
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
MR.  OGAN  replied the  resolution  has  a  zero fiscal  note.  It                                                              
simply  amends Uniform  Rule 18  by  adding a  new subsection  (b)                                                              
that reads as follows:                                                                                                          
      (b) No measure other than an appropriation bill may                                                                       
      appear on the daily calendar after the ninetieth day                                                                      
     of a regular session.                                                                                                      
4:31:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER  explained that he  filed the resolution in  the hope                                                              
of  fulfilling the  voters' will  when they  passed an  initiative                                                              
for  a  90-day  session  in  2006.   As  was  mentioned,  the  one                                                              
constitutional  obligation  the  legislature  has  is  to  pass  a                                                              
budget. The resolution  amends the Uniform Rules, but  it does not                                                              
affect  the  constitutional  120-day  session.  All  appropriation                                                              
bills are exempt.  After 90 days committee work  can continue, but                                                              
only  high priority  non-appropriation  measures could  go to  the                                                              
floor if two-thirds of the body believes it is important.                                                                       
SENATOR REINBOLD asked for clarification of Rule 54 and Rule 18.                                                                
MR. OGAN  explained  that Rule  54 would  be used  to move a  non-                                                              
appropriation  bill to  the floor  after  90 days.  It requires  a                                                              
concurrent resolution  approved by a  two-thirds vote of  the full                                                              
membership of each house. SCR 1 amends Uniform Rule 18.                                                                         
4:34:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI pointed  out that  Uniform  Rule 17  articulates                                                              
the  daily order  of business  and [paragraph  (m)] discusses  the                                                              
Consideration of  the Daily Calendar.  He asked if  the resolution                                                              
would prohibit the introduction of new bills after day 90.                                                                      
MR. OGAN replied  he would follow up with an answer  after he does                                                              
some research and checks with legislative legal.                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI  said he  reviewed Rules  17 and  18 and  said he                                                              
was unclear  whether SCR 1 would  impact the ability  to introduce                                                              
legislation after day 90.                                                                                                       
MR.  OGAN  said  the intent  is  to  not  allow  non-appropriation                                                              
measures to  go to the floor,  but he would talk  with legislative                                                              
legal  to  ensure  that  SCR  1  does  not  have  that  unintended                                                              
CHAIR SHOWER  clarified that  there is no  intent to  prohibit the                                                              
introduction of bills  that are intended to come to  the floor for                                                              
a vote during the second session.                                                                                               
4:36:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   KAWASAKI    suggested   the   two-thirds    vote   could                                                              
disenfranchise  the minority  opinion,  depending on  the size  of                                                              
the majority.                                                                                                                   
MR.  OGAN said  there  probably  will be  winners  and losers  but                                                              
ultimately  the winner  is voter  intent to  have the  legislature                                                              
meet for 90 days.                                                                                                               
SENATOR KAWASAKI  said he supports  the concept of  the resolution                                                              
but hopes it wouldn't be used as a tool to divide legislators.                                                                  
CHAIR SHOWER  reiterated that the intent  is to honor the  will of                                                              
the people. He added  that he doesn't believe anyone  would try to                                                              
get a two-thirds  majority vote past  90 days because it's  such a                                                              
high bar.                                                                                                                       
4:39:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked if a two-thirds  vote is required  to pass                                                              
the bill.                                                                                                                       
MR. OGAN said yes.                                                                                                              
SENATOR MICCICHE  said he supports  the idea of getting  work done                                                              
in  90 days  and to  prioritize  work on  the appropriation  bills                                                              
after that.  However, he agrees  with Senator Kawasaki  that there                                                              
should be  an exception for the  introduction of new bills  in the                                                              
first year.  He said  he'd also  like to  discuss a carve-out  for                                                              
bills  related to  statute  changes that  are  needed to  finalize                                                              
appropriation bills.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  SHOWER said  he was  open to  discuss ways  to improve  the                                                              
bill and avoid unintended consequences.                                                                                         
SENATOR COGHILL  said he  would struggle to  support the  bill. He                                                              
was  not a  fan  of the  2006  initiative  because  it limits  the                                                              
people's access  and empowers the administration.  He said Senator                                                              
Kawasaki brought  up good  questions that  should be answered.  He                                                              
opined  that there  are political  dynamics that  he will  need to                                                              
consider.  "I'm  holding my  powder  off  on  this one.  My  first                                                              
answer's going to be no," he said.                                                                                              
4:46:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. OGAN  acknowledged that it  isn't under consideration,  but he                                                              
likes the  Wyoming model of  a 20-day session  the first  year for                                                              
just the  budget and a  40-day session  the second year  for other                                                              
SENATOR COGHILL  observed that, as  written, SCR 1 provides  a way                                                              
to game  the system. The legislature  could pass  an appropriation                                                              
bill without passing the budget.                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER  agreed that may  need to  be changed. He  added that                                                              
the idea is to find a way to improve the process.                                                                               
SENATOR  COGHILL   pointed  out   the  potential  limitations   of                                                              
imposing a  two-thirds vote to bring  a bill to the floor  when it                                                              
requires a simple majority to pass it.                                                                                          
4:49:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER held SCR 1 in committee.                                                                                           
4:50:29 PM                                                                                                                    
There  being no  further business  to come  before the  committee,                                                              
Chair  Shower   adjourned  the   Senate  State  Affairs   Standing                                                              
Committee meeting at 4:50 pm.                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
STA Commissioner MVA Saxe #1.pdf SSTA 1/31/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA Agenda Week of 1.28.19.pdf SSTA 1/31/2019 3:30:00 PM
1.31.19 Agenda
SCR 1 Sponsor Statement .pdf SSTA 1/31/2019 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1.PDF SSTA 1/31/2019 3:30:00 PM
SCR1-LEG-SESS-01-29-2019.pdf SSTA 1/31/2019 3:30:00 PM