Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/11/2000 03:15 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 331                                                                                                            
     "An Act  relating to  payment, allowances,  and benefits                                                                   
     of  members  of the  Alaska  National Guard  and  Alaska                                                                   
     Naval   Militia   in   active   service;   relating   to                                                                   
     computation  of  certain  benefits  for members  of  the                                                                   
     Alaska  State Militia;  and providing  for an  effective                                                                   
CAROL  CARROLL,  DIRECTOR,  DIVISION   OF  SUPPORT  SERVICES,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF  NATURAL RESOURCES provided information  on the                                                                   
legislation  and  spoke  in  its   support.  The  legislation                                                                   
changes the  name of the Alaska  State Militia to  the Alaska                                                                   
State Defense  Force.  The legislation  also changes  the way                                                                   
pay  is  calculated  for national  guardsmen  when  they  are                                                                   
brought onto state active duty.  Presently, pay is calculated                                                                   
based on  rank, years  of service  and added allowances.  The                                                                   
basic pay from the federal government  would be multiplied by                                                                   
200  percent.   This  would  streamline   the  administrative                                                                   
process without  affecting pay  of the members.  The proposal                                                                   
was presented  to and approved  by the officers  and enlisted                                                                   
men's  associations. The  legislation would  also clarify  in                                                                   
statute that  the members of  the Alaska State  Defense Force                                                                   
should  be paid  as if  they are  state  employees. They  are                                                                   
currently handled as emergency employees.                                                                                       
Representative Phillips spoke  in the support of the bill and                                                                   
stated that she was ready to move the bill from Committee.                                                                      
MAJOR  RICHARD THOMAS,  ALASKA NATIONAL  GUARD testified  via                                                                   
teleconference  in support  of the  legislation. He  stressed                                                                   
that anything  that can simplify procedures  during disasters                                                                   
would be  of assistance.  He noted that  the bill  would make                                                                   
pay more timely and accurate.                                                                                                   
RICHARD   TURCIC,   DIVISION  OF   ADMINISTRATIVE   SERVICES,                                                                   
MILITARY  AND  VETERANS  AFFAIRS,   ANCHORAGE  testified  via                                                                   
teleconference  in  support.  He stressed  that  the  current                                                                   
system is extremely  complicated and emphasized  that the new                                                                   
system  would   simplify  and  reduce  the  time   needed  to                                                                   
calculate  pay.  The  legislation would  also  ensure  timely                                                                   
GENERAL THOMAS  S. WESTALL,  BRIGADOR, ALASKA STATE  MILITIA,                                                                   
GLENNALLEN  TESTIFIED  via  teleconference  in  support.  The                                                                   
Alaska  State Defense  Force is  a  trained military  service                                                                   
that principally  trains  in the field  of mobilization.  The                                                                   
defense  force can  mobilize  in 24  hours.  There are  three                                                                   
trained  soldiers   assigned  specific  jobs  in   the  State                                                                   
Emergency Coordination  Center. The Alaska State  Militia has                                                                   
operated in  almost every  disaster that  the state  has been                                                                   
involved  in  over  the  past  16  years.  The  soldiers  are                                                                   
civilians in their  normal capacity. They need  protection of                                                                   
their  civil  jobs, which  is  provided  under AS  24.  These                                                                   
soldiers  are not  looking for  compensation.  He noted  that                                                                   
they have  been committed for  extended periods of  time. The                                                                   
Division of  Emergency Services would  have to hire  staff to                                                                   
do the  task that the State  Defense Force has  traditionally                                                                   
done.  Emergency Services  would not  be able  to operate  24                                                                   
hours a day without exhaustion.                                                                                                 
Vice  Chair Bunde  noted that  there  is a  zero fiscal  note                                                                   
accompanying the bill.                                                                                                          
Representative  Phillips MOVED to  report CSHB 331  (MVA) out                                                                   
of Committee with the accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                 
CSHB  331 (MVA)  was REPORTED  out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                   
pass"  recommendation and  with  a zero  fiscal  note by  the                                                                   
Military and Veterans Affairs.                                                                                                  

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