Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/15/1996 03:05 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 373 - EDUC FOR FAMILY OF DECEASED MILITARY Number 025 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced the first order of business was HB 373, Education for Families of Deceased Military. He asked Tom Anderson, Legislative Aide to Representative Martin, to present the bill. Number 055 TOM ANDERSON, Legislative Aide to Representative Terry Martin, said HB 373 is in response to the Yukla 27 airplane crash in which 24 service men lost their lives on September 22, 1995. A review of the statutes by Mr. Anderson revealed that currently members, spouses and dependents of service men only receive a free tuition waiver from the university system in the event of a death in the line of duty. Representative Martin felt it would be appropriate to expand that to include a stipend to pay for fees and expenses, as well as free room. Mr. Anderson said the fiscal note was based on the assumption that two students per year would request these benefits. In the last six years, the tuition waiver has been requested by only four people, so there is no significant fiscal impact anticipated. REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS arrived at 3:07 p.m. Number 216 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Anderson what the educational support is under current law. MR. ANDERSON referred to Section 1, AS 14.43.085 which states in part, "...member of the armed services and who died in the line of duty or who died as a result of injuries sustained while in the line of duty for the state or federal government or was listed by the United States Department of Defense as a prisoner of war or as missing in action." REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON arrived at 3:08 p.m. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if someone serving in Bosnia qualified, why didn't the service men in the airplane crash qualify. MR. ANDERSON responded they do qualify; HB 373 just expands the current law to include room, board and fees. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the four individuals who used this in the past had just received tuition waivers. MR. ANDERSON responded that was correct. Of the 24 service men that died, very few of them had children or spouses in the university system, but there's a few that would take part in this program. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the cost of the room, board and books was calculated with the advice of the university. MR. ANDERSON replied that it calculates out to $6,800. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if those costs were based on attending school at a particular location. MR. ANDERSON thought it was an average cost for the University of Alaska. Number 381 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE asked Mr. Anderson if he had an idea of how many people were participating in just the tuition program. MR. ANDERSON said based on information received from the university, four students have requested the tuition waiver in the last six years. He added that Representative Martin wanted to further extend assistance to this group of individuals. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if this applied only to the University of Alaska system. MR. ANDERSON responded any state school. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY clarified this would not apply to an individual who wanted to get their degree at a school out of the state. MR. ANDERSON said the individual would have to stay in the state of Alaska. CO-CHAIR BUNDE clarified it would have to be a state school; for example, this would not extend to a tuition waiver from APU, which is a private school. Number 478 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Mr. Anderson if he knew what a Division 1 athletic scholarship at the University of Alaska Fairbanks would be worth. MR. ANDERSON replied no. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Mr. Anderson to explain the Alaska Naval Militia. MR. ANDERSON said he had never heard of it until he read this bill. He thought it was probably a subsidiary branch of the Armed Forces. REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS noted the fiscal note is not written in the normal manner and actually reflects $13,600 not $13 million. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said while this is a relatively simply bill, it is the policy of the House HESS Committee not to pass a bill out of committee the first time it's heard. He asked Mr. Anderson if he would research the question regarding the Alaska Naval Militia as well as the cost of a Division 1 athletic scholarship. He added he supports the intent of the bill, but would like to have those questions answered.