Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

05/09/2019 03:30 PM Senate COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
03:29:14 PM Start
03:29:51 PM HB126
03:44:30 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 126 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HB 126-ALASKA NATIVE HERITAGE MONTH                                                                           
3:29:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP  announced the consideration  of House Bill  126 (HB
126). He noted that the  House Tribal Affairs Committee sponsored                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
3:31:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TIFFANY   ZULKOSKY,  Alaska   State  Legislature,                                                               
Juneau, Alaska,  sponsor and  chair of  the House  Tribal Affairs                                                               
Committee,  thanked Senator  Gray-Jackson for  introducing Senate                                                               
Bill 86 (SB 86), a bill  that also looks to permanently establish                                                               
Alaska Native Heritage Month.                                                                                                   
She  explained  that  HB  126  is the  first  bill  sponsored  by                                                               
Alaska's first  ever House Special  Committee on  Tribal Affairs.                                                               
HB   126  passed   unanimously  out   of  committee   and  nearly                                                               
unanimously on  the House  Floor. The  bill seeks  to permanently                                                               
establish November as Alaska Native Heritage Month.                                                                             
She explained  that Alaska  is home  to 229  federally recognized                                                               
tribes that comprises  nearly half of all tribes  in the country.                                                               
Alaska  Native people  consist of  at least  20-destinct-cultural                                                               
groups  and  native languages,  13-regional-native  corporations,                                                               
almost   200   village  corporations,   and   12-regional-tribal-                                                               
nonprofit consortiums.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  said  permanently  establishing  Alaska                                                               
Native  Heritage  Month  provides an  opportunity  to  celebrate,                                                               
honor,  and  recognize the  rich,  vibrant  cultures of  Alaska's                                                               
natives across the state. HB  126 is legislative recognition that                                                               
Alaska Natives have made on the federal level for decades.                                                                      
She  said since  the 1970s,  Congress has  passed numerous  joint                                                               
resolutions  and proclamations  recognizing the  contributions of                                                               
American  Indians and  Alaska Natives  to the  country. In  2013,                                                               
President Obama  proclaimed November as National  Native American                                                               
Heritage  Month.   In  2017,  President  Trump   also  proclaimed                                                               
November  as National  Native  American  Heritage Month  stating,                                                               
"American  Indians and  Alaska  Natives  are inextricably  linked                                                               
with  the  history  of  the   Unites  States.  Native  Americans'                                                               
contributions are woven deeply into  our nation's rich tapestry."                                                               
She posed  that President  Trump's statement  could also  be said                                                               
about Alaska's native people and the state.                                                                                     
She  said  Alaska  Native  people  have  occupied  its  land  for                                                               
thousands of  years and have  a unique history that  all Alaskans                                                               
know and  love. The recognition  from HB 126 helps  Alaskans move                                                               
on  from the  complex  historic divisions  in  the state.  Alaska                                                               
Native's  unique   heritage  and  shared   cultural  appreciation                                                               
strengthens  relationships  that  bring  all  Alaskans  together.                                                               
Alaska  native   people,  cultures,  languages,   and  traditions                                                               
significantly  contribute to  the state's  history, economy,  and                                                               
diverse identity.                                                                                                               
She summarized  that HB  126 serves  to formally  acknowledge the                                                               
many contributions,  sacrifices, and resiliency of  Alaska Native                                                               
people that every  community, culture, and resident  in the state                                                               
can celebrate.                                                                                                                  
3:33:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP opened public testimony.                                                                                           
3:34:01 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
3:34:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP called the committee back to order.                                                                                
3:34:49 PM                                                                                                                    
ELIZABETH  MEDICINE CROW,  President,  First Alaskans  Institute,                                                               
Kake, Alaska, testified in support  of HB 126. She explained that                                                               
the  First  Alaskans  Institute  is  a  statewide  Alaska  native                                                               
nonprofit organization  that works towards progress  for the next                                                               
ten-thousand  years.  The  First Alaskans  Institute  focuses  on                                                               
amplifying  the  voice of  Alaska  Native  people, ensuring  that                                                               
their  ways  of  life  are advancing  via  decision  makers  that                                                               
address issues that impact Alaska Native people.                                                                                
She  set  forth  that  the  Alaska  Native  community  have  been                                                               
stewarding Alaska  as their homeland for  over ten-thousand years                                                               
and the native  community looks forward to  the next ten-thousand                                                               
years. HB 126  is an important bill, not just  for Alaska natives                                                               
but  for  all Alaskans  because  the  legislation helps  to  make                                                               
permanent a  month to  celebrate the  diverse cultures  of Alaska                                                               
Native people across the state,  the contributions made by Alaska                                                               
Native people  for thousands  of years, and  the ability  for all                                                               
Alaskans to  enjoy the beauty,  strength, and connection  of what                                                               
it means to be an  Alaskan, noting that Alaska Native's ancestors                                                               
took great care in stewarding Alaska's lands and waters.                                                                        
She specified that HB 126  provides an opportunity to make Alaska                                                               
Heritage  Month  permanent  during  the month  of  November.  The                                                               
bill's permanent  designation in November allows  the legislature                                                               
to recognize  the critical and important  contributions of Alaska                                                               
Native people. November  is an important time  in Alaska Native's                                                               
calendar year because the month is  a time of celebration for the                                                               
many native cultures  after the spring, summer,  and fall harvest                                                               
seasons.  Schools  will   also  be  able  to   plan  events  that                                                               
celebrates  the  positive  stories  of Alaska  Native  people,  a                                                               
critical inclusion for the wellbeing of Alaska Native children.                                                                 
She  summarized that  the First  Alaskans Institute  stands as  a                                                               
statewide nonprofit organization in support  of HB 126. She added                                                               
that  she also  stands as  a native  woman, as  a citizen  of her                                                               
tribe, the organized Village of Kake,  and as a citizen of Alaska                                                               
for making sure that Alaskans  take moments to celebrate the good                                                               
things that are happening, and HB 126 will allow that to happen.                                                                
3:39:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP closed public testimony.                                                                                           
SENATOR   GRAY-JACKSON   thanked  Representative   Zulkosky   for                                                               
bringing HB 126 forward, a  bill that is important. She explained                                                               
that HB 126 is important to  her because while she was serving on                                                               
the  Anchorage  Assembly  for nine  years,  she  brought  forward                                                               
resolutions that  recognized Alaska's many diverse  cultures. She                                                               
said that now that she is in  the Alaska Senate, one of her goals                                                               
was  bring forward  bills recognizing  the  state's many  diverse                                                               
cultures  that can  be in  state statutes  forever. She  detailed                                                               
that her first goal was  to bring forward bills recognizing Black                                                               
History Month as  well as Alaska Native Heritage  Month. She said                                                               
she is  thrilled that the bill  for Black History Month  is ready                                                               
for  the governor's  signature and  is grateful  that legislation                                                               
for Alaska Native Heritage Month is advancing.                                                                                  
SENATOR COSTELLO  thanked the sponsors  of SB  86 and HB  126 for                                                               
introducing  important   legislation.  She   said  as   a  former                                                               
classroom teacher,  she sees a  lot of opportunities  with Alaska                                                               
Native  recognition for  classroom students  to learn  more about                                                               
Alaska's heritage.                                                                                                              
3:41:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP stated that he is  honored as chair of the committee                                                               
to be able  to pass the legislation along to  the next committee.                                                               
He noted that he had a  question that pertains to, "the next ten-                                                               
thousand years"  and asked if a  working group will be  formed to                                                               
address  month-long celebrations  during the  month of  November,                                                               
including possible potlatches.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  replied that  nothing has  been planned,                                                               
but the House  Special Committee on Tribal Affairs  will be happy                                                               
to  work  towards addressing  celebrations  during  the month  of                                                               
CHAIR BISHOP  said after listening  to Ms. Medicine Crow  as well                                                               
as being  a father of  two Native  children, he said  he believes                                                               
that something could  be done in the schools during  the month of                                                               
November for students  to bring out who they are,  where they are                                                               
from, and their history regarding something that is important.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY   summarized  that  the   House  Special                                                               
Committee  on Tribal  Affairs has  been doing  a lot  of work  to                                                               
provide information  to operate from a  consistent foundation and                                                               
knowledge  level  for  Alaskans   to  step  forward  together  in                                                               
recognizing their unique shared history.                                                                                        
3:43:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BIRCH moved  to report  HB 126,  work order  31-LS0782\M                                                               
from committee with individual  recommendations and attached zero                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
3:44:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP announced that there be no objection, the motion                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 126 ver. M.PDF SCRA 5/9/2019 3:30:00 PM
HB 126
HB 126 Sponsor Statement.pdf SCRA 5/9/2019 3:30:00 PM
HB 126
HB 126 Fiscal Note DOA.PDF SCRA 5/9/2019 3:30:00 PM
HB 126
HB 126 Support_ First Alaskans Institute.pdf SCRA 5/9/2019 3:30:00 PM
HB 126