Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

04/27/2021 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 40 VETERANS' BENEFITS SERVICES; DISCLOSURE TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 40 Out of Committee
+= HJR 16 HMONG VETERANS MILITARY RIGHTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved HJR 16 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
         SB 40-VETERANS' BENEFITS SERVICES; DISCLOSURE                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:05:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
SENATE  BILL  NO. 40,  "An  Act  relating to  veterans'  benefits                                                               
services and veterans' benefits appeal services."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:05:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOSH  REVAK, Alaska State Legislature,  as prime sponsor,                                                               
thanked the committee for hearing SB  40 and noted that this bill                                                               
is for consumer protections for veterans.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:05:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK opened public testimony on SB 40.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:06:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTOPHER BLOCK  testified in support of  SB 40.  He  said that                                                               
he is  a disabled Air  Force veteran  who has worked  through the                                                               
Veterans  Administration process  since 2006.   He  described his                                                               
expenses for accessing benefits and  expressed his belief that SB
40 would  help many  veterans.  He  said that  even well-educated                                                               
veterans need the protection that SB 40 would provide.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:09:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TUCK asked  Mr.  Block  how he  knew  about this  proposed                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLOCK replied  that  he  sits on  the  Anchorage Chamber  of                                                               
Commerce and is very involved in anything concerning veterans.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:10:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR asked Mr. Block  whether he believes the fine                                                               
of  $1,000 per  violation would  be appropriate,  given how  much                                                               
money he had spent on veterans' benefits providers.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLOCK  explained  that  the  provider  he  used  retained  a                                                               
percentage of  the benefit  as payment.   He said  that companies                                                               
may not  be deterred by  a fine of  $1,000, but that  getting the                                                               
information out is an important step in the process.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   TARR   said   that   she   has   often   visited                                                               
organizations  such  as  Veterans   of  Foreign  Wars  (VFW)  and                                                               
American Legion and noted that  membership in those organizations                                                               
is "on the older  side."  She asked Mr. Block  whether he had any                                                               
thoughts   on   getting   younger  veterans   involved   in   the                                                               
organizations.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLOCK  replied that  since  leaving  active duty  and  being                                                               
involved with  disabled veterans,  he's noticed  the age  gap and                                                               
difficulty in reaching younger veterans.   He said that even with                                                               
involvement in  Disabled Veterans of America  and Wounded Warrior                                                               
Project  it's  difficult  to  connect,   and  he's  noticed  that                                                               
veterans  of  Operation Enduring  Freedom  haven't  been able  to                                                               
connect with  the VFW  or American  Legion the  way those  of the                                                               
Vietnam War have.   He said that  it would be helpful  to be able                                                               
to   access  information   outside   of   the  Veteran   Services                                                               
Organizations.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:17:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TUCK,  after  ascertaining  that no  one  else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on SB 40.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:17:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR moved  to report SB 40 out  of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
note.   There being no objection,  SB 40 was reported  out of the                                                               
House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 40 Testimony Received by HMLV 4.25.2021.pdf HMLV 4/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
SB 40
HJR 16 Supporting Document Letter to the Alaska Congressional Delegation 4.27.2021.pdf HMLV 4/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJR 16