Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120


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Audio Topic
01:32:24 PM Start
01:33:20 PM Organizational Discussion
01:42:09 PM HB3
02:26:05 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           HB 3-NATL GUARD LEAVE/REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS                                                                        
1:42:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
House  Bill 3,  "An  Act  relating to  the  employment rights  of                                                               
employees in the  state who are members of the  National Guard of                                                               
another state, territory, or district of the United States."                                                                    
1:42:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TUCK,  sponsor  of  HB 3,  paraphrased  from  the  sponsor                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
     House  Bill   3  seeks  to  correct   a  deficiency  in                                                                    
     employment protections for Alaskans  who are serving in                                                                    
     the National  Guard.   This is  a nationwide  effort to                                                                    
     ensure those who  serve their nation for  all 50 states                                                                    
     when  called  to duty  -  regardless  of their  service                                                                    
     location  -  will  have reemployment  rights  to  their                                                                    
     Alaskan  civilian  job  after  completing  the  various                                                                    
     critical  duties when  called by  a governor  for state                                                                    
     active duty.                                                                                                               
     The National  Guard is  a hybrid  state-federal entity.                                                                    
     While  National Guard  members are  subject to  federal                                                                    
     call to  duty by  the President  of the  United States,                                                                    
     they can  also be  called up for  state active  duty by                                                                    
     the Governor  to respond to  state emergencies  such as                                                                    
     fires, tornadoes and floods.                                                                                               
     The  federal  law  Uniformed  Services  Employment  and                                                                    
     Reemployment  Rights Act  [of  1994] (USERRA)  protects                                                                    
     members of  the Army  or Air  National Guard  when they                                                                    
     are called  away from their  civilian jobs  for federal                                                                    
     service.  - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                 
     However, USERRA  does not apply  when a  National Guard                                                                    
     member must leave their job  for state active duty.  If                                                                    
     National Guard members are  to have reemployment rights                                                                    
     after state active duty, it must be through state law.                                                                     
     Alaska currently  has a law that  applies to employment                                                                    
     protections  to  the   public  and  private  employees.                                                                    
     However,  it is  explicitly limited  to members  of the                                                                    
     Alaska Army or  Air National Guard.   There are several                                                                    
     Alaskan residents  who serve  in the National  Guard of                                                                    
     another state.   These Alaskans  currently do  not have                                                                    
     the reemployment protections for their employment.                                                                         
     By passing House Bill 3,  we will extend the employment                                                                    
     protections  to   Alaskans  who  are  serving   in  any                                                                    
     National  Guard.     The  Department  of   Defense  has                                                                    
     identified this  legislation as a  key quality  of life                                                                    
     issue  and  is actively  seeking  to  make this  policy                                                                    
     change  across the  nation.   So far,  28 other  states                                                                    
     have passed similar legislation  and 3 other states are                                                                    
     taking it up this session.                                                                                                 
CHAIR  TUCK  added  that  33  Alaskans  would  qualify,  and  the                                                               
statistic comes  from self-reporting, so the  actual number could                                                               
be much higher.   The majority are in the  Alaska National Guard,                                                               
but  some  reported having  served  in  other states,  making  19                                                               
states total.                                                                                                                   
1:45:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK opened public testimony on HB 3.                                                                                     
1:45:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  SAN  SOUCI,  Regional State  Liaison,  U.S.  Department  of                                                               
Defense (DoD),  testified in support of  HB 3.  He  added that 28                                                               
states have adopted  legislation similar to HB 3,  and three more                                                               
states are  considering it  this session.   The 33  Alaskans that                                                               
qualify have  served in 19  states spread all across  the nation.                                                               
Although  it  doesn't  seem  like a  lot,  the  legislation  will                                                               
improve the policy so members  of the National Guards wouldn't be                                                               
fired from their civilian jobs for their service.                                                                               
1:47:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked  if there  is  reciprocity  between                                                               
National Guard  units in other  states - if members  can transfer                                                               
their National Guard position to their new state of residence.                                                                  
MR. SAN SOUCI  answered that he is not aware  of reciprocity.  He                                                               
said  the states  are almost  sovereign due  to their  respective                                                               
organizations.  Transfers  between states are based  on their job                                                               
and rank.   For example, a major  in Oregon would have  to find a                                                               
job in Alaska as a major.                                                                                                       
1:49:43 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  DOEHL,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Military  &                                                               
Veterans' Affairs (DMVA),  reviewed that the National  Guard is a                                                               
reserve component of  the Army and Air Force,  which provide most                                                               
of  its funding.    The  National Guard  is  typically under  the                                                               
control of  the governor,  and each state  has its  own structure                                                               
and  positions.   He  clarified  the  interstate transfer  (IST),                                                               
which  is  a process  that  can  take  six  to eight  months  and                                                               
transfers  qualifications   and  status  from  one   military  to                                                               
another.   There  is  a common  recognition  of training  between                                                               
states.   The  IST is  available and  is pivotal  for the  Alaska                                                               
National Guard.   He stated there are three duty  types under the                                                               
command  of the  governor: Title  32, United  States (U.S.)  Code                                                               
covers organizing,  training, and equipment for  federal missions                                                               
when needed by  the federal government; Title 10,  US Code covers                                                               
operational uses such  as the President calling  guard members to                                                               
go to  Iraq or  Afghanistan or respond  to other  national needs,                                                               
which is  also funded by  the federal government; the  third area                                                               
is  the only  area  HB 3  pertains  to -  state  active duty  for                                                               
disaster response.   Under state active duty, the  state pays the                                                               
bill, commands  the National Guard,  and decides what it  will do                                                               
and how  it will do  it.  There  are federal protections  for the                                                               
first two listed  duties.  He listed some historic  uses of state                                                               
National   Guards,    including:   snow    shoveling,   hurricane                                                               
preparedness  and  response,   flood  preparedness,  and  running                                                               
prisons  during  an  officer  strike.     There  are  no  federal                                                               
protections  when serving  in this  role.   State active  duty is                                                               
typically less than 5 days, but can be longer.                                                                                  
1:54:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DOEHL  explained how  someone might live  in Alaska  and move                                                               
across the  nation to serve  elsewhere.  When traveling  to other                                                               
states for drills and training, the  guard member pays.  He noted                                                               
this happens  when one's  military career is  "out of  sync" with                                                               
one's civilian,  professional, or  personal life, and  is usually                                                               
temporary.   This  involves students,  military spouses,  airline                                                               
pilots,  or participants  in industries  not  located in  Alaska.                                                               
Opportunities  to transfer  give  the guard  member  a chance  to                                                               
serve  in positions  Alaska doesn't  have.   Alaska doesn't  have                                                               
senior positions,  so attaining  those positions in  other states                                                               
and  transferring   back  to   Alaska  is   a  means   of  career                                                               
development.   He related his  experience as an armor  officer at                                                               
times  living out  of state.   If  he would  have been  called to                                                               
active duty,  then he  would have  needed to  travel back  to his                                                               
home state.   He  related other experiences  he had  where travel                                                               
between states was necessary for  training and advancement.  Such                                                               
travel costs  are a  tremendous expense for  Alaskans due  to the                                                               
distance.  Mr. Doehl stated  that DMVA supports the proposed bill                                                               
as it is  overall conducive to developing  a professional militia                                                               
in  Alaska.   The  bill  allows  for  continuity of  service  for                                                               
Alaskans whose life  plans require them to spend  time outside of                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
1:59:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  DOEHL stated  that  the bill  incentivizes  new Alaskans  to                                                               
remain engaged with the military  through a prior affiliation, to                                                               
keep  their readiness  current  by continuing  until  there is  a                                                               
position for them  in the Alaska National Guard, and  to train as                                                               
necessary.   It  supports  developing a  more  capable force  for                                                               
Alaska  by  capitalizing  on those  out-of-state  positions  that                                                               
cannot be replicated in Alaska.  He remarked:                                                                                   
     Alaska  may have  a transient  population,  but we  are                                                                    
     confident we  will gain  or regain  Alaskans affiliated                                                                    
     with   another  state's   National   Guard  given   the                                                                    
     challenges  of  time,  distance, and  cost  of  outside                                                                    
     affiliation.  This  bill increases their recruitability                                                                    
     and retainability  by avoiding  breaks in  service, and                                                                    
     their readiness when they do come to us.                                                                                   
MR.  DOEHL  stated  that  the proposed  bill  would  maintain  or                                                               
increase the National  Guard's ability to serve  Alaskans in time                                                               
of disaster and all Americans in  time of war when mobilized.  He                                                               
said  HB  3  would  save  tax payers  the  high  cost  of  either                                                               
retraining back  up to  proficiency after a  break in  service or                                                               
training someone brand  new after a separation from  service.  He                                                               
recognized this is a complex area of legislation.                                                                               
2:01:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked if someone usually  goes one weekend                                                               
a month for drill activities.                                                                                                   
2:01:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  DOEHL   answered  that  typically  outside   units  have  an                                                               
expectation of  one weekend  a month,  plus at  least a  two week                                                               
training period.   Those  periods have  become more  frequent for                                                               
additional  required training.    The typical  obligation is  one                                                               
weekend a month and one, two-week annual training period.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked  if riot control would  be federal or                                                               
MR.  DOEHL stated  riot  control is  usually  under state  active                                                               
duty, with one exception in 1963.                                                                                               
2:02:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked if a  guard member be less likely to                                                               
want a spot  with the Alaska National Guard since  the bill would                                                               
allow a lower risk for private employment with an IST.                                                                          
MR.   DOEHL  acknowledged   the  bill   removes  one   basis  for                                                               
incentivizing  coming to  the Alaska  National Guard,  but stated                                                               
his belief  that it keeps someone  wanting to be involved  in the                                                               
military  with less  cost and  inconvenience, which  offsets that                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked if an IST is temporary.                                                                            
2:04:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DOEHL stated an IST is a permanent change of affiliation.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  how  long  someone from  Minnesota                                                               
could serve in the Alaska  National Guard slot before joining the                                                               
Alaska National Guard.                                                                                                          
MR.  DOEHL stated  that a  person  can only  be a  member of  one                                                               
National  Guard at  a time.   To  become a  member of  the Alaska                                                               
National Guard  he/she would be  released from the  other state's                                                               
National Guard.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked how  long could someone  go without                                                               
being discharged from Minnesota.                                                                                                
MR.  DOEHL stated  he/she  could  not start  as  an Alaska  Guard                                                               
member until they are done being a Minnesotan Guard member.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  if there  would be  any obligation                                                               
for  a   person  to  terminate  his/her   relationship  with  the                                                               
Minnesota service.                                                                                                              
MR. DOEHL answered  that if the person's duties  to Minnesota can                                                               
accommodate the  longer response time entailed  for the position,                                                               
then there is no set limit.                                                                                                     
2:06:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked if adoption  of HB 3 would help other                                                               
states adopt similar legislation.                                                                                               
MR.  DOEHL stated  he is  hopeful it  would support  the national                                                               
effort.  He  remarked, "As a nation, the longer  that we can keep                                                               
individuals with a  military affiliation ... the more  we save as                                                               
tax payers in ... training new  recruits off the street; the more                                                               
we also  gain as Americans  in having folks with  more experience                                                               
and training when we do have to put them in harm's way."                                                                        
2:07:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  if  a guard  member  and  his/her                                                               
dependents  living  in  Alaska but  serving  in  another  state's                                                               
National  Guard  Unit  would  qualify   for  the  Permanent  Fund                                                               
Dividend (PFD).                                                                                                                 
2:08:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TUCK stated  the question  is  outside the  scope of  this                                                               
2:08:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER  asked   who  the   "organized  militia"                                                               
mentioned on page 1, line 6, of the proposed bill refers to.                                                                    
MR.  DOEHL stated  the "organized  militia"  constitutes the  Air                                                               
National Guard, the Army National  Guard, the Alaska Air National                                                               
Guard, the Alaska  Army National Guard, the  Alaska State Defense                                                               
Force, and  the Alaska  Naval Militia, under  Title 26  of Alaska                                                               
2:09:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK closed public testimony on HB 3.                                                                                     
2:09:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked about the  requirement in HB  3 to                                                               
rehire  the on-duty  individual if  the employer  is not  able to                                                               
offer the same position.                                                                                                        
CHAIR TUCK  asked how the  reduction of  force with a  company is                                                               
2:11:19 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVEN  WILLIAMS,   Employment  Security  Analyst,   Division  of                                                               
Employment &  Training Services, Department of  Labor & Workforce                                                               
Development  (DLWD),  stated   he  cannot  answer  Representative                                                               
Rauscher's question  as it  pertains to the  bill or  the current                                                               
statute, but  stated there is  a similar  law under USERRA.   The                                                               
Veterans' Employment and Training Services  (VETS), a part of the                                                               
U.S.  Department  of  Labor,  is  responsible  for  investigating                                                               
claims under USERRA,  and their director might be  better able to                                                               
answer the question.                                                                                                            
2:12:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER referred  to lines 1 and 2, on  page 2 of                                                               
HB 3, which  read: "at the pay, seniority, and  benefit level the                                                               
employee would have had if the  employee had not been absent as a                                                               
result  of active  state  service or  National  Guard service  in                                                               
another  state." He  asked if  the guard  member would  be coming                                                               
back as a temporary employee at a part-time salary.                                                                             
2:13:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK clarified that the  question is regarding the existing                                                               
statute, and asked Mr. Doehl to describe how it currently works.                                                                
2:13:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DOEHL stated  that he will confirm with  the Employer Support                                                               
of  the  Guard and  Reserve  (ESGR),  but  he believes  that  the                                                               
statute  involves  a  minimum  threshold on  company  size.    He                                                               
offered his understanding that when  someone returns after a long                                                               
deployment,  if  a company  has  downsized  and the  position  no                                                               
longer  exists, it  is impossible  to fill  it with  the returned                                                               
guard member.   This circumstance  removes the obligation  to re-                                                               
employ  him/her  in  the  same   position.    He  stated  he  has                                                               
encountered similar situations.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked whether  the position  would still                                                               
exist,  as pertains  to  the  statute, if  the  employer hires  a                                                               
"temp" to fill the position.                                                                                                    
MR. DOEHL responded that if  the company downsized, then there is                                                               
no obligation to rehire the guard  member.  If the company brings                                                               
in  a  replacement,  he/she  would  be a  temporary  hire.    The                                                               
replacement  should understand  that the  position is  temporary.                                                               
Typical state active  duty is 3-5 days, and  most companies would                                                               
not advertise, screen, and hire someone  in that time.  He stated                                                               
that the solution is often  to go to temporary staffing companies                                                               
for  an  "immediate  fill,"  with   the  understanding  that  the                                                               
position is  temporary.  He stated  he would contact ESGR  to see                                                               
about applicability to size of companies.                                                                                       
CHAIR TUCK stated the existing  language has been in practice for                                                               
many years.                                                                                                                     
2:16:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH stated  that  he expects  this bill  would                                                               
affect  a small  number of  people,  and it's  been a  successful                                                               
section of law across the  nation.  He referred to Representative                                                               
Rauscher's  concerns,  and  asked  how  similar  legislation  has                                                               
played out elsewhere.                                                                                                           
MR. DOEHL stated that he is  not aware of these provisions having                                                               
ever  been invoked.    He listed  three  circumstances that  must                                                               
align  for the  statute to  come into  effect: a  person must  be                                                               
affiliated with a National Guard  of a different state from which                                                               
they are  a resident; the person  must be called to  state active                                                               
duty, which  is rare;  and the service  must trigger  a potential                                                               
adverse action from  an employer in Alaska.  He  recognized it is                                                               
a small set of people affected.                                                                                                 
2:18:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked for  historical perspective  on the                                                               
percentage  of  guard  members  who  have  been  affiliated  with                                                               
National Guards outside of Alaska.                                                                                              
MR. DOEHL  stated that  DMVA has  no access to  the data,  so any                                                               
information he could offer would be speculative.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked Mr.  Doehl whether the  IST process                                                               
tends to benefit  Alaska or if Alaska loses guard  members due to                                                               
this statute.                                                                                                                   
MR. DOEHL  stated that  overall Alaska  gains the  experience and                                                               
training of individuals.  He  stated his belief that Alaska signs                                                               
more ISTs coming in than going out.                                                                                             
2:20:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   LEDOUX  asked   if  a   regular  drill   weekend                                                               
considered active state service.                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL answered  no.  The regular drill  weekends are pursuant                                                               
to Title 32, U.S. Code, which  is protected by USERRA for adverse                                                               
employment actions.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked  how travel to and  time for training                                                               
is covered  by this statute or  USERRA.  A service  person coming                                                               
to and  from Alaska would  necessitate missing Friday  and Monday                                                               
of work.                                                                                                                        
2:22:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DOEHL  stated from  experience that  he would  leave Thursday                                                               
night  and  be at  work  Monday  morning.   USERRA  does  provide                                                               
protections for the time reasonably  necessary to get to and from                                                               
drills  as  well as  the  drill  itself.    He stated  that  most                                                               
employees  find a  way to  "make that  up" to  [the employer]  by                                                               
adjusting hours  or working longer.   Usually that is  worked out                                                               
by two people talking.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   asked  if  there  is   a  provision  for                                                               
protection in the  bill or USERRA if an agreement  is not reached                                                               
- if the  job is protected if the company  cannot accommodate the                                                               
travel schedule.                                                                                                                
MR.  DOEHL stated  there  are exceptions  under  USERRA for  that                                                               
scenario, but it  has not come up.  He  explained that litigation                                                               
would be involved to determine the regulation.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked whether travel time  is protected by                                                               
USERRA if people are going to their drills.                                                                                     
MR. DOEHL answered  that is correct.  Reasonable  travel time and                                                               
the drill weekend would be protected by USERRA.                                                                                 
2:24:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER clarified  that  being  called to  active                                                               
state  duty  might  be  for  floods,  tremendous  snowfall,  etc.                                                               
whereas "being  federalized" would include circumstances  such as                                                               
[being deployed] to Afghanistan.                                                                                                
2:25:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DOEHL stated that is his understanding as well.                                                                             
[HB 3 was held over.]                                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB003 Sponsor Statement 1.24.17.pdf HMLV 1/26/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB003 Fiscal Note MVA-COM .1.22.17.pdf HMLV 1/26/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB003 Fiscal Note DOLWD-WHA 1.22.17.pdf HMLV 1/26/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB003 Supporting Document-Dept of Defense One Pager 1.23.17.pdf HMLV 1/26/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB003 Supporting Document-Letter Dept of Defense 1.24.17.pdf HMLV 1/26/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 3