Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

04/02/2019 01:00 PM House MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
01:01:13 PM Start
01:02:31 PM Presentation: Department of Commerce, Community, & Economic Development
01:29:12 PM Presentation: Department of Defense
01:48:19 PM HB93
02:06:49 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentations by: TELECONFERENCED
-Sara Chambers, Div. Director, Dept. of
Commerce, Community & Economic Development
-Tammie Perreault, Regional State Liaison, Dept
of Defense
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
            HB  93-MILITARY SPOUSE COURTESY LICENSE                                                                         
1:48:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  93,  "An Act  relating  to  temporary  courtesy                                                               
licenses for  certain nonresident professionals; and  relating to                                                               
the   Department    of   Commerce,   Community,    and   Economic                                                               
1:48:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CHRIS TUCK,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, paraphrased parts of the  sponsor statement [included in                                                               
the  committee packet],  which read  in its  entirety as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     House  Bill  93  calls  for the  Alaska  Department  of                                                                    
     Commerce,   Community  and   Economic  Development   to                                                                    
     prepare   an  annual   report  to   allow  the   Alaska                                                                    
     Legislature to  evaluate the progress  of a  program to                                                                    
     make    temporary   courtesy    occupational   licenses                                                                    
     available  to  the  spouses   of  active  duty  service                                                                    
     members  stationed  in  Alaska.  In  2011,  the  Alaska                                                                    
     Legislature passed  House Bill 28 to  provide expedited                                                                    
     temporary  courtesy  licenses   if  a  military  spouse                                                                    
     possesses a  license from a previous  jurisdiction with                                                                    
     similar requirements  to the State of  Alaska. However,                                                                    
     the bill didn't include reporting requirements.                                                                            
     Making  temporary courtesy  licenses  available to  the                                                                    
     spouses of  active duty service members  allows them to                                                                    
     practice  their  chosen  trade  without  having  to  go                                                                    
     through  the time-consuming  process  of meeting  state                                                                    
     licensure    requirements   before    beginning   work.                                                                    
     Expediting  courtesy  licenses   for  military  spouses                                                                    
     allows them to  go to work quickly  after relocating to                                                                    
     Alaska,   while  they   work   toward  fulfilling   any                                                                    
     remainder state requirements for their license.                                                                            
     The requirement in  House Bill 93 for  an annual report                                                                    
     will  allow the  Alaska  Legislature,  the Joint  Armed                                                                    
     Services Committee,  military installations,  and local                                                                    
     communities to track the progress  of the Department of                                                                    
     Commerce, Community and  Economic Development in making                                                                    
     temporary  courtesy  licenses   available  to  military                                                                    
     spouses.  HB  93  also  calls  for  the  department  to                                                                    
     produce  and distribute  informational materials  about                                                                    
     temporary  courtesy licenses  to each  board authorized                                                                    
     to issue such licenses.  The intent of this stipulation                                                                    
     is to  improve the  board's knowledge of  the licenses,                                                                    
     the  application process,  and  the  best practices  in                                                                    
     providing  applicant  support. Additionally,  the  bill                                                                    
     calls  for  the  department   to  encourage  boards  to                                                                    
     designate a  single employee to  serve as the  point of                                                                    
     contact  for public  information and  inquiries related                                                                    
     to temporary courtesy licenses for military spouses.                                                                       
     The  annual  report  called  for in  HB  93  will  also                                                                    
     highlight many  of the opportunities available  to help                                                                    
     military  spouses enter  the  workforce  in Alaska.  To                                                                    
     date,  a  low  number of  eligible  professionals  have                                                                    
     taken  advantage  of  the  temporary  courtesy  license                                                                    
     program in Alaska, and  many participants have reported                                                                    
     delays.   House    Bill   93   would    help   identify                                                                    
     inefficiencies in the program.                                                                                             
     Legislation similar to House  Bill 93 passed the Alaska                                                                    
     House of Representatives unanimously  last year but was                                                                    
     not taken up by the Alaska State Senate.                                                                                   
     Making  temporary   courtesy  occupational   and  other                                                                    
     licenses available  to military  spouses is  a priority                                                                    
     for the U.S. Department of Defense.                                                                                        
1:52:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX noted  that a bill for  temporary courtesy licensing                                                               
had already  been passed  several years  ago.   She asked  if the                                                               
current bill  is attempting to  ensure that the program  that was                                                               
enacted years ago is working the way it should be.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK answered yes.                                                                                               
1:53:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON sought clarification on the fiscal note.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK stated that the  fiscal note shows zero costs                                                               
through FY  25.  He explained  that "the total amount  of revenue                                                               
collected approximately equals  the occupations actual regulatory                                                               
costs",  adding  that   those  individuals  seeking  occupational                                                               
licenses are not exempt from paying the fees.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  added that when  a military family  moves to                                                               
Alaska and the  spouse can no longer continue  her career because                                                               
her occupation requires a license, it  is a loss of higher income                                                               
and revenue for that family.   He emphasized the importance of HB
93  and  explained  why  Alaska   no  longer  has  a  reciprocity                                                               
agreement for electrician licenses with Washington.                                                                             
CHAIR  LEDOUX  sought  clarification  on why  the  Department  of                                                               
Commerce,   Community  &   Economic  Development   (DCCED)  would                                                               
evaluate  themselves  in an  annual  report  on the  progress  of                                                               
making temporary courtesy occupational  licenses available to the                                                               
spouses of active duty service  members stationed in Alaska.  She                                                               
asked why  Legislative Budget and Audit  Committee (LBA) wouldn't                                                               
compile an audit instead.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK agreed  that if DCCED didn't  desire the same                                                               
outcome it would  be a function of  LBA.  He noted  that it takes                                                               
two years  and 500-900 man-hours  for a typical audit,  while the                                                               
current  bill  institutes an  annual  report  that requires  less                                                               
resources and allows for a quicker response.                                                                                    
1:59:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR,  referencing subsection  (f) of  the current                                                               
bill,  asked for  clarification on  the purpose  of the  biennial                                                               
report, which  is a consolidation  of the two most  recent annual                                                               
reports, that  would be submitted  to the legislature  during the                                                               
first regular session of each legislature.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  offered his  understanding that  the purpose                                                               
of the  biennial report is to  provide a compilation of  the last                                                               
two  years  of information  on  temporary  courtesy licenses  for                                                               
brand new legislators.                                                                                                          
2:01:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX opened public testimony.                                                                                           
2:01:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SARA CHAMBERS,  Director, Division of Corporations,  Business and                                                               
Professional  Licensing,  Department  of  Commerce,  Community  &                                                               
Economic  Development,  reiterated  that  the  DCCED  prioritizes                                                               
military  families  and would  be  happy  to provide  a  progress                                                               
report to the legislature.  She  offered her belief that that the                                                               
items  in HB  93 that  would be  reported on  wouldn't take  much                                                               
effort and  could be accommodated  without adding a  fiscal note.                                                               
She noted that the DCB&PL  doesn't regulate teachers or attorneys                                                               
and  that education,  along with  any occupation  outside of  the                                                               
division, isn't included in the report.                                                                                         
2:03:46 PM                                                                                                                    
TAMMIE   PERREAULT,  Regional   Liaison,  Defense-State   Liaison                                                               
Office, Office of the Assistant  Secretary of Defense, Department                                                               
of Defense,  informed the committee  that the U.S.  Department of                                                               
Defense is  grateful to the  Alaska legislature for  making great                                                               
strides  to  improve  the  transition  of  military  members  and                                                               
families.   She stated  that HB  93 will  continue to  provide an                                                               
evaluation  of the  progress which  Alaska has  made and  allow a                                                               
firm commitment and  identification of the next best  steps.  She                                                               
acknowledged  that  different  licensing requirements  can  limit                                                               
advancement  or  deter  reentry  into  the  workforce  in  a  new                                                               
location,  and  that  sometimes spouses  can  suffer  periods  of                                                               
unemployment  due to  licensure  requirements.   She offered  her                                                               
belief that  HB 93 will  help identify if  there are any  gaps in                                                               
the  current  system  and  will  help  moved  Alaska  forward  in                                                               
identifying possible  processes that could  be improved on.   She                                                               
concluded by  expressing her  support for  the policy  within the                                                               
current bill.                                                                                                                   
2:05:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX closed public testimony.                                                                                           
[HB 93 was held over.]