Legislature(2019 - 2020)CAPITOL 106

04/16/2019 08:00 AM TRIBAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved HR 6 Out of Committee
Moved HR 7 Out of Committee
Moved HB 126 Out of Committee
          HR 7-SUPPORT AK TRIBAL CHILD WELFARE COMPACT                                                                      
8:11:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOWSKY announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  RESOLUTION NO.  7, Urging the  governor to  continue to                                                               
fully  implement  the Alaska  Tribal  Child  Welfare Compact  and                                                               
build  ongoing   partnerships  between   the  state   and  tribal                                                               
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY   noted  that  the  committee   already  heard  a                                                               
presentation on  HR 7, as  well as invited and  public testimony.                                                               
After ascertaining that no committee  members had questions about                                                               
HR 7, she re-opened public testimony                                                                                            
8:11:51 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  BIOFF,   General  Counsel,   Kawerak,  Inc.,   relayed  his                                                               
professional  background  and  involvement  with  Kawerak,  Inc.,                                                               
which he  explained is the  regional nonprofit  tribal consortium                                                               
located in  Nome.  He explained  that he is testifying  on behalf                                                               
of Melanie  Bahnke, President and CEO  of Kawerak, Inc.   He said                                                               
Kawerak, Inc.  provides social services  to the 20 tribes  in the                                                               
Bering Strait  region of  Alaska.   He added  that it  operates a                                                               
child advocacy center  that serves the region, and  that it works                                                               
in  partnership with  the  State of  Alaska  (SOA) to  facilitate                                                               
child  abuse investigations.   He  said Kawerak,  Inc. represents                                                               
the 20  tribes in  Indian Child  Welfare Act  (ICWA) proceedings.                                                               
He  discussed   his  experience   representing  tribes   in  ICWA                                                               
proceedings  and  opined on  the  importance  of Kawerak,  Inc.'s                                                               
partnership  with  SOA  and the  Office  of  Children's  Services                                                               
(OCS).    He  said  Kawerak,   Inc.  has  been  involved  in  the                                                               
development  of the  [Alaska Tribal  Child Welfare  Compact] from                                                               
the  beginning and  is a  signatory.   He spoke  to the  time and                                                               
resources  invested by  Kawerak, Inc.  in building  relationships                                                               
and supporting  the compact.   He discussed the important  of the                                                               
compact and HR 7.  He  stressed that tribal and SOA resources are                                                               
limited, so it  is imperative that partnerships  form to maximize                                                               
resources to  benefit Alaska families.   He said the  compact and                                                               
partnerships between  SOA and tribal  governments make  sense for                                                               
Alaska, given  the vastness  of the state  and the  complexity of                                                               
challenges  facing  rural areas.    He  affirmed Kawerak,  Inc.'s                                                               
support  of HR  7  and the  intent  and spirit  in  which it  was                                                               
drafted.  He  added that Kawerak, Inc. urges  Governor Michael J.                                                               
Dunleavy  to  fully  implement   the  compact  and  continue  the                                                               
partnership laid  out between SOA and  the tribes, as well  as to                                                               
pursue  additional partnership  opportunities.    He thanked  the                                                               
committee for the opportunity to testify.                                                                                       
8:14:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOWSKY  thanked Mr.  Bioff  for  his comments.    After                                                               
ascertaining  that no  one  else wished  to  testify, she  closed                                                               
public  testimony.   She  expressed that  she  would entertain  a                                                               
motion to move HR 7 out of committee.                                                                                           
8:14:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON moved to report  HR 7 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the attached  zero fiscal  note.                                                               
There being  no objection,  HR 7  was reported  out of  the House                                                               
Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects