Legislature(2019 - 2020)CAPITOL 106

04/30/2019 08:00 AM House TRIBAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
08:06:30 AM Start
08:07:30 AM Presentation(s): the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis
08:54:53 AM HB142
09:12:03 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
*+ A Resolution urging the United States Congress TELECONFERENCED
to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of
1994 without an exemption for tribal governments
in the state and to support Savanna's Act and
highlight the crisis of missing and murdered
Indigenous women.
<Pending Introduction & Referral>
+ Presentation: The Missing & Murdered Indigenous TELECONFERENCED
Women Crisis
        HB 142-NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS VPSO & TANF PROGRAMS                                                                    
8:54:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  announced the  final order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL   NO.  142,  "An   Act  relating  to   Alaska  Native                                                               
organizations;  relating to  the  village  public safety  officer                                                               
program;  and   relating  to  the  Alaska   temporary  assistance                                                               
8:55:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    JONATHAN     KREISS-TOMKINS,    Alaska    State                                                               
Legislature,  paraphrased from  the  following sponsor  statement                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     House   Bill  142   addresses  ambiguity   in  law   by                                                                    
     clarifying  which   Alaska  Native   organizations  are                                                                    
     eligible  to administer  Village Public  Safety Officer                                                                    
     (VPSO)  programs and  Alaska  Native family  assistance                                                                    
     programs. The  Central Council of  the Tlingit  & Haida                                                                    
     Indian  Tribes   of  America  (Tlingit  &   Haida)  has                                                                    
     operated  Southeast  Alaska's  VPSO and  Alaska  Native                                                                    
     family  assistance   programs  for  nearly   20  years.                                                                    
     However,  Tlingit   &  Haida  has  a   different  legal                                                                    
     identity  than  the   regional  nonprofit  corporations                                                                    
     around   Alaska  (e.g.,   AVCP,   Kawerak,  TCC)   that                                                                    
     administer  VPSO  and/or  family  assistance  programs,                                                                    
     owing  to  Tlingit  & Haida's  status  as  a  federally                                                                    
     recognized  tribe. Tlingit  & Haida  is not  a regional                                                                    
     nonprofit   corporation,    despite   regularly   being                                                                    
     mistakenly referred  to as one.  House Bill  142 amends                                                                    
     current  statute to  resolve  this  ambiguity and  make                                                                    
     fully  explicit and  unambiguous that  Tlingit &  Haida                                                                    
     can administer  VPSO and/or family  assistance programs                                                                    
     in partnership with the State of Alaska.                                                                                   
8:56:47 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  SCANLON,  Staff,  Representative  Jonathan  Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature,  stated currently,  nonprofit regional                                                               
corporations  and "rural  areas" are  eligible to  administer the                                                               
VPSO program; HB  142 would add "Alaska  Native organizations" to                                                               
those  eligible.    There  are 13  entities  that  are  currently                                                               
eligible to  administer Alaska Native family  assistance programs                                                               
and adding  Alaska Native organizations  to those  eligible would                                                               
add Metlakatla  and Tlingit &  Haida.  The technical  change made                                                               
by HB  142 does  not add  any other entities  to the  original 13                                                               
regional  nonprofit corporations  listed  in  statute, but  would                                                               
ensure  all are  authorized  to administer  Alaska Native  family                                                               
assistance programs.   He explained the  ambiguity occurs because                                                               
Tlingit  &  Haida  is  a federally-recognized  Tribe  and  not  a                                                               
regional  nonprofit  corporation,  and thus  is  not  technically                                                               
authorized to  administer the program[s].   Mr. Scanlon  said the                                                               
following organizations and agencies  have favorably reviewed the                                                               
bill:   Tlingit & Haida;  the Department of Public  Safety (DPS);                                                               
the  Department  of  Health  and   Social  Services  (DHSS);  the                                                               
Department of Law (DOL).                                                                                                        
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  said although the  sponsor has  characterized the                                                               
bill as  a narrow, technical  change, the  size and scope  of the                                                               
work done by  Tlingit & Haida in Southeast leads  one to think of                                                               
Tlingit &  Haida as  similar to one  of the  regional nonprofits;                                                               
however,  as a  legal entity,  Tlingit  & Haida  is a  federally-                                                               
recognized  Tribe.   She  asked for  confirmation  that the  bill                                                               
would only  apply to  Tlingit & Haida  and the  Metlakatla Indian                                                               
MR. SCANLON clarified, as it relates  to the VPSO program, HB 142                                                               
would add Tlingit & Haida  and Metlakatla as entities eligible to                                                               
administer the program,  in partnership with DPS.   As it relates                                                               
to  the  Alaska  Native  family  assistance  program[s],  HB  142                                                               
ensures  that the  13 entities  currently listed  in statute  are                                                               
legally authorized to administer the program[s].                                                                                
9:00:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE pointed  out  the  Department of  Commerce,                                                               
Community & Economic Development recognizes  Tlingit & Haida as a                                                               
nonprofit  corporation, which  would fulfil  the requirements  to                                                               
administer the VPSO program.                                                                                                    
MR. SCANLON deferred the question.                                                                                              
9:02:11 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDREW   MERRILL,  Captain,   Commander,  "C"   Detachment,  VPSO                                                               
Program,  Division of  Alaska State  Troopers, DPS,  informed the                                                               
committee  he manages  the VPSO  program  and is  captain of  "C"                                                               
[Due  to  recording difficulties,  a  portion  of the  audio  was                                                               
CAPTAIN MERRILL  recalled last  year a VPSO  and Tlingit  & Haida                                                               
were sued over  actions by the VPSO; during  the lawsuit, Tlingit                                                               
& Haida  exercised sovereign  immunity and  was removed  from the                                                               
civil suit.  In the judge's  ruling of the lawsuit, the state was                                                               
repeatedly noticed  that technically, Tlingit  & Haida was  not a                                                               
Native nonprofit as  defined in regulations or  statute.  Captain                                                               
Merrill  explained  at   that  time  DPS  and   Tlingit  &  Haida                                                               
recognized the  need to correct  the issue,  and one step  in the                                                               
process to become compliant was  for Tlingit & Haida to establish                                                               
nonprofit status with DCCED.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  questioned whether  Tlingit & Haida  is now                                                               
in compliance with the VPSO requirements.                                                                                       
CAPTAIN MERRILL  said yes.  Tlingit  & Haida is established  as a                                                               
nonprofit and is legally within  compliance of the regulation and                                                               
9:05:26 AM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD  PETERSON, President,  Central Council  of the  Tlingit &                                                               
Haida  Indian Tribes  of  Alaska (Tlingit  &  Haida), in  further                                                               
response to  Representative Vance, said Tlingit  & Haida complied                                                               
by  registering as  a nonprofit,  albeit  at some  administrative                                                               
expense.   He  opined it  is  in the  interest of  the state  and                                                               
Tlingit &  Haida to complete  the "statutory fix" within  HB 142,                                                               
which is  housekeeping and noncontroversial.   He  then continued                                                               
to  his  invited  testimony  and   stated  Tlingit  &  Haida  has                                                               
administered  the  VPSO  and  [Alaska  Native  family  assistance                                                               
programs/Temporary   Aid  to   Needy  Families   (TANF)]  program                                                               
successfully for over 20 years  through grant agreements with the                                                               
state.   The programs are  vital for all  of Southeast:   TANF is                                                               
operated for  the entire region  from Ketchikan to  Yakutat; VPSO                                                               
is operated through a grant  agreement with DPS and interest from                                                               
local communities.  Mr. Peterson said  Tlingit & Haida has done a                                                               
good job for over 20  years overcoming obstacles to the programs;                                                               
in  fact, as  a  regional  Tribe, Tlingit  &  Haida is  "uniquely                                                               
situated" to  provide these services for  Southeast, and although                                                               
it is  not a consortium  of Tribes,  Tlingit & Haida  is directly                                                               
connected to  the affected  communities.   He restated  Tlingit &                                                               
Haida is  not defined as  a Tribal  nonprofit and seeks  a simple                                                               
and efficient  statutory correction  to achieve compliance.   Mr.                                                               
Peterson   acknowledged  there   are  ongoing   budgetary  issues                                                               
concerning  TANF and  VPSO  programs; however,  HB  142 has  been                                                               
discussed  with   DOL  and  DHSS   and  no  issue,   concern,  or                                                               
controversy has been raised.                                                                                                    
9:09:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY questioned  whether  Tlingit &  Haida would  face                                                               
problems managing the VPSO program were the bill [not to pass].                                                                 
MR. PETERSON  said Tlingit  & Haida  would have  additional costs                                                               
associated  with  changes  to  its  management  operations.    He                                                               
restated  Tlingit &  Haida's  existing  management operation  has                                                               
been a successful model for over 20 years.                                                                                      
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  surmised [without  passage of  HB 142]  Tlingit &                                                               
Haida would  anticipate an increase  in administrative  costs and                                                               
thereby decreased funding for the VPSO program.                                                                                 
MR. PETERSON agreed there would  be additional costs for the VPSO                                                               
and TANF programs.                                                                                                              
9:11:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY  opened  public  testimony  on  HB  142.    After                                                               
ascertaining  no  one wished  to  testify,  public testimony  was                                                               
closed, and HB 142 was held over.                                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB142 Fiscal Note DPS-VPSO 4.28.19.pdf HTRB 4/30/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
HB0142A.PDF HTRB 4/30/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
HB 142 Sponsor Statement 4.29.19.pdf HTRB 4/30/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
Missing-and-Murdered-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-Report.pdf HTRB 4/30/2019 8:00:00 AM
MMIWG Policy Guidance_Final.pdf HTRB 4/30/2019 8:00:00 AM
VAWA.pdf HTRB 4/30/2019 8:00:00 AM