Legislature(2021 - 2022)DAVIS 106

04/06/2021 08:00 AM House TRIBAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
08:30:35 AM Start
08:31:23 AM HB47
08:59:23 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Meeting Postponed to 8:30 am --
Moved HB 47 Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
           HB  47-COUNCIL FOR ALASKA NATIVE LANGUAGES                                                                       
8:31:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  47,  "An Act  renaming  the  Alaska  Native                                                               
Language  Preservation and  Advisory Council  as the  Council for                                                               
Alaska Native Languages;  and relating to the  Council for Alaska                                                               
Native Languages."                                                                                                              
8:31:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDI STORY,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, presented HB 47.  She  stated that the council was first                                                               
developed  as   the  Alaska  Native  Language   Preservation  and                                                               
Advisory Council;  HB 47  would shorten its  name and  expand its                                                               
membership.   The  council provided  recommendations to  both the                                                               
governor and  the Alaska State Legislature  on programs, policies                                                               
and projects, and  networked in support of  the council's mission                                                               
of  advocating  for the  survival  and  revitalization of  Alaska                                                               
Native   languages  through   collaboration   and  sharing,   she                                                               
imparted.  The  council was created by the second  session of the                                                               
Twenty-Seventh   Alaska  State   Legislature  and   consisted  of                                                               
governor-appointed  voting  members  who  were  language  experts                                                               
representing diverse  regions of  the state,  she shared.   There                                                               
were also two  non-voting members, she added:  one  member of the                                                               
Senate, appointed by the Senate  president; and one member of the                                                               
House, appointed  by the  speaker of  the House.   Representative                                                               
Story shared she  herself served as the non-voting  member of the                                                               
House, which was how the information  which became HB 47 had been                                                               
brought to her.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  shared  the two  seemingly  small  changes                                                               
brought about by  HB 47 had significant meaning  for the council.                                                               
The name  change would simplify  the name from the  Alaska Native                                                               
Language  Preservation and  Advisory Council  to the  Council for                                                               
Native Languages, which would reflect  the goal of sustaining and                                                               
reinvigorating  Alaska Native  language, "a  concept that  [went]                                                               
beyond preservation."   The second change  requested the addition                                                               
of two  new members, changing  the number of voting  members from                                                               
five  to  seven.    Alaska   has  about  20  distinct  indigenous                                                               
languages, she shared,  and to be able to be  more inclusive, two                                                               
more members would add additional perspective.                                                                                  
8:35:35 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:35 a.m. to 8:36 a.m.                                                                       
8:36:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  asked for  an  explanation  of the  fiscal                                                               
8:36:18 AM                                                                                                                    
SANDRA  MOLLER,  Director,  Division  of  Community  of  Regional                                                               
Affairs,   Department   of   Commerce,   Community   &   Economic                                                               
Development, explained  the reason  for the  fiscal notes  was to                                                               
allow the two additional members two trips per year.                                                                            
8:38:02 AM                                                                                                                    
LANCE TWITCHELL, Associate Professor  of Alaska Native Languages,                                                               
University of  Alaska, testified in  support of  HB 47.   He said                                                               
sufficient work  had not been  done in  terms of the  progress of                                                               
Alaska Native  languages.   He shared that  when the  council was                                                               
formed in  2012, members  felt seen  and heard,  but subsequently                                                               
budget cuts had  been made, reports had gone  unread, and actions                                                               
seemed less  courageous.   In the case  of some  languages, fewer                                                               
than  10 speakers  remained, he  shared, referring  to them  as a                                                               
"death spiral."   He urged passage of HB 47  to preserve and care                                                               
for not just  languages, but entire systems  of communication and                                                               
ways of life.                                                                                                                   
8:43:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  asked what  could be done  fundamentally to                                                               
advance the cause of preservation of Native languages.                                                                          
MR.  TWITCHELL  suggested that  working  with  the Department  of                                                               
Education  and  Early  Development  to create  an  Alaska  Native                                                               
Language  Schools  consortium  might  be  a  step  in  the  right                                                               
direction, as  it would create  a clear path to  legitimize space                                                               
for teachers of Native languages.                                                                                               
8:47:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  asked how the legislature  should be using                                                               
state-funded media to support language revitalization.                                                                          
MR. TWITCHELL replied  that public broadcasting could  be used to                                                               
greater effect  with utilization  of Native language  content for                                                               
radio  stations  and  program   development.    When  the  Juneau                                                               
community radio station KTOO brought  the Sesame Street character                                                               
Elmo  to Juneau,  he  shared,  and Elmo  was  taught  how to  say                                                               
"Gunalch?esh," it really went a long way with folks.                                                                            
8:50:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY asked if there  was an opportunity to ensure there                                                               
could be  movement of the  necessary request and opt  for virtual                                                               
meetings  and thus  avoid  the  fiscal impact  if  that would  be                                                               
MR. TWITCHELL said  he thought so, but he couldn't  speak for the                                                               
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  asked at what  point the department  could reduce                                                               
the fiscal note if the council could meet virtually.                                                                            
MS. MOLLER replied she wasn't sure  exactly but was sure it could                                                               
be done.                                                                                                                        
8:54:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ expressed a desire  that HB 47 be moved from                                                               
8:55:09 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:55 a.m. to 8:58 a.m.                                                                       
8:58:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ moved to report  HB 47 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection, HB  47 was  reported out of  the House                                                               
Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB47 Sponsor Statement 3.31.2021.pdf HTRB 4/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 47
HB 47 Sectional Analysis version A.pdf HTRB 4/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 47
HB 47 Fiscal Note.pdf HTRB 4/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 47
HB 47 Testimony - Received as of 4.1.2021.pdf HTRB 4/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 47
HB 47 Additional Documents 04.02.2021.pdf HTRB 4/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 47