Legislature(2023 - 2024)ADAMS 519

04/14/2023 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      April 14, 2023                                                                                            
                         1:35 p.m.                                                                                              
1:35:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Foster  called the House Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 1:35 p.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bryce Edgmon, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Julie Coulombe                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Cronk                                                                                                       
Representative Alyse Galvin                                                                                                     
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Will Stapp                                                                                                       
Representative Frank Tomaszewski                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative DeLena Johnson, Co-Chair                                                                                         
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative   Jesse   Sumner,  Sponsor;   Jeremy   Douse,                                                                    
Northern  Region Forester,  Division  of  Forestry and  Fire                                                                    
Protection,  Department of  Natural Resources;  Jesse Logan,                                                                    
Staff,  Representative  Jesse  Sumner;  Representative  Andi                                                                    
Story,  Sponsor; Miranda  Worl,  Staff, Representative  Andi                                                                    
Story; Senator Jesse Bjorkman.                                                                                                  
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Joe  Young, Owner,  Young's Timber  Inc., Tok;  Rodney Dial,                                                                    
Mayor,   Ketchikan   Gateway  Borough,   Ketchikan;   Andrew                                                                    
Traxler,   Papoose  Milling,   Big  Lake;   Yaayuk  Alvanna-                                                                    
Stimpfle, Co-Chair, ANLPAC, Nome.                                                                                               
HB 26     COUNCIL FOR ALASKA NATIVE LANGUAGES                                                                                   
          HB 26 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
HB 93     LUMBER GRADING PROGRAM                                                                                                
          HB 93 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
Co-Chair Foster reviewed the meeting agenda.                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 93                                                                                                             
     "An Act  relating to a lumber  grading training program                                                                    
     and  lumber grading  certificates; relating  to use  of                                                                    
     lumber  graded  and certified  by  a  person holding  a                                                                    
     lumber  grading   training  program   certificate;  and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
1:37:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JESSE SUMNER, SPONSOR, thanked the committee                                                                     
for hearing the bill. He read from a prepared statement.                                                                        
Edit these verbatim minutes and SEND.                                                                                           
     As a homebuilder I am  very familiar with our inability                                                                    
     to utilize  local lumber for construction.  While there                                                                    
     is good quality lumber and  skilled mills in the state,                                                                    
     residential construction often  relies on products from                                                                    
     large  box   stores  instead.  This   is  due   to  the                                                                    
     requirement to use graded lumber,  which must come from                                                                    
     outside.  Rather  than  degrading the  quality  of  new                                                                    
     construction  by   eliminating  the   requirements  for                                                                    
     graded  lumber,  this  bill  would  develop  a  grading                                                                    
     program here  in the state to  certify locally produced                                                                    
     high quality building lumber.                                                                                              
     Fortunately, the Department  of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                    
     was  already underway  in  developing  such a  program.                                                                    
     Stakeholders  included  sawmill  owners,  homebuilders,                                                                    
     housing      authorities,     economic      development                                                                    
     associations,  vocational   educators,  DNR,   and  the                                                                    
     United States (US) Forest Service.                                                                                         
     There were several things that  contributed to the need                                                                    
     for the  bill. Lumber used in  residential construction                                                                    
     must be  graded and stamped  to meet building  code and                                                                    
     financing requirements. However,  small Alaska sawmills                                                                    
     do  not produce  enough dimensional  lumber to  justify                                                                    
     the cost of hiring a  grading agency to grade and stamp                                                                    
     the lumber.  The cost of lumber  and other construction                                                                    
     materials has risen dramatically  over the last several                                                                    
     years making it harder  for Alaskans to address housing                                                                    
     shortages affecting most of our  state. Regions off the                                                                    
     road   system   experience   even   higher   costs   of                                                                    
     construction as  materials have to  be flown  or barged                                                                    
     into  areas  that  may  already  have  abundant  timber                                                                    
     growing nearby.                                                                                                            
     A  local  lumber  grading  program  would  allow  local                                                                    
     sawmills  operators to  become certified  to grade  and                                                                    
     sell  dimensional  lumber  they  mill  for  residential                                                                    
     construction   to   a   homeowner  or   a   homeowners                                                                     
     contractor. This  would provide Alaskans the  option to                                                                    
     purchase  a local  product for  use in  construction of                                                                    
     their  homes. It  would  create economic  opportunities                                                                    
     that would result in permanent  stable family wage jobs                                                                    
     in rural communities and  villages and would strengthen                                                                    
     and diversify local economies.                                                                                             
     In some parts of the  state there would be cost savings                                                                    
     from locally produced  dimensional lumber. According to                                                                    
     information from 2022,  the average price of  an 8 foot                                                                    
     2 inch  by 4  inch [stud] was  $9.44 the  average total                                                                    
     price of barging  the same piece of  lumber to interior                                                                    
     communities was  $12.00 and the  average total  cost of                                                                    
     air shipping was $21.00                                                                                                    
     The  Kuskokwim Corporation  had been  working with  the                                                                    
     Alaska Cold  Climate Research Center on  heat efficient                                                                    
     kit homes  that uses  timber harvested in  their region                                                                    
     using locally  produced graded dimensional  lumber that                                                                    
     would  be   significantly  cheaper  than   shipping  in                                                                    
     dimensional lumber. It would  help the corporation meet                                                                    
     more  of  the  housing  needs in  this  part  of  rural                                                                    
     Alaska.  Many  of  the villages  in  the  Tanana  Chief                                                                    
     Conference had small  sawmills and may be  able to take                                                                    
     advantage of  the local lumber  grading program  in the                                                                    
    future to help build housing in their communities.                                                                          
     In  Southeast  Alaska  a coalition  of  tribal,  public                                                                    
     sector, and private sector  partners were interested in                                                                    
     transitioning  away   from  old  growth  timber   to  a                                                                    
     sustainable  industry manufacturing  young growth  wood                                                                    
     products. This  would  provide economic opportunity and                                                                    
     a local supply  of wood products for  consumers but the                                                                    
     limited opportunities for  sales, sawmill operators not                                                                    
     able to  grade their lumber  is one of the  hurdles for                                                                    
     its  implementation.  A  local lumber  grading  program                                                                    
     would also  lower the  barrier to  entry to  create new                                                                    
     sawmills.  The sawmills  could serve  as a  catalyst to                                                                    
     increase  investment  in  forest  management  and  help                                                                    
     build  the  timber  sector statewide.  A  large  timber                                                                    
     sector could in turn,  provide the additionality needed                                                                    
     for creating and selling  forest carbon offset projects                                                                    
     adding further  investment and  revenues to  the timber                                                                    
     The  Division  of  Forestry and  Fire  Protection,  DNR                                                                    
     would administer  the program  and ensure  the training                                                                    
     necessary  for  certification  was  offered  at  least,                                                                    
     annually. Jeremy  Doust, Northern Region  Forester, was                                                                    
     online  to  provide   a  presentation,  discuss  lumber                                                                    
     grading, take a deeper dive  into the need for a lumber                                                                    
     grading program,  and offer an overview  of the program                                                                    
     DNR would administer under the bill.                                                                                       
1:42:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Foster asked Mr. Douse to proceed with the                                                                             
JEREMY   DOUSE,  NORTHERN   REGION  FORESTER,   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
FORESTRY   AND  FIRE   PROTECTION,  DEPARTMENT   OF  NATURAL                                                                    
RESOURCES,  provided a  PowerPoint  presentation titled  "HB
93: Local  Lumber Grading,"  dated April  14, 2023  (copy on                                                                    
file). He  introduced himself  and began  on slide  2 titled                                                                    
"Grade Stamped Lumber:                                                                                                          
    Grade Stamped lumber allows the purchaser to know the                                                                    
     wood meets a quality standard.                                                                                             
    Grading agencies such as Western Wood Products                                                                           
     Association   (WWPA)  publishes   the  Western   Lumber                                                                    
     Grading Rules for appearance grading.                                                                                      
    Grading rules are accredited by the American Lumber                                                                      
     Standards Committee (ALSC)                                                                                                 
    Members of WWPA receive mill training, quality                                                                           
     assurance (QA), market analysis, and professional                                                                          
    Small mill operators find it economically challenging                                                                    
    to become a member of these types of associations.                                                                          
1:44:53 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Douse turned to slide 3 titled "Cost of Grading Agency                                                                      
Membership in Alaska:"                                                                                                          
     •Membership   Dues  +   Monthly   Site  Inspections   +                                                                    
     Inspector Travel  Costs ˜$2200/month•Membership options                                                                    
     for small mill operators:-Only  pay for membership fees                                                                    
     during active periods.                                                                                                     
     •Membership options for small mill operators:                                                                              
          -Only pay for membership fees during active                                                                           
        -Stockpile milled material and bring in an                                                                              
           Inspector  when there  is enough  to justify  the                                                                    
          travel costs.                                                                                                         
     •Difficult for small mills to produce enough volume to                                                                     
      justify these costs and remain profitable.                                                                                
1:46:07 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Douse advanced to slide 4 titled What is a Local Use                                                                        
Lumber Program:                                                                                                                 
         It is state law/regulation in seven states                                                                          
          allowing   non  graded/stamped   locally  produced                                                                    
          dimensional    lumber    in   some    construction                                                                    
         It is often an exemption to a building code that                                                                    
          requires grade stamped lumber.                                                                                        
         It is focused on small mill operators providing                                                                     
          opportunities for them  to enter home construction                                                                    
          markets explained  what grading agencies  were, //                                                                    
          allowed   non-graded   stamped  locally   produced                                                                    
          dimensional    lumber    in   some    construction                                                                    
Mr. Douse moved to slide 5 titled "What is a Local Use                                                                          
Lumber Program?" (continued):                                                                                                   
         It  includes a  training  program  for small  mill                                                                  
          operators on grading their own lumber and                                                                             
          includes a recertification schedule.                                                                                  
         Because  of  the  code exemption,  it  allows  for                                                                  
          traditional home construction financing.                                                                              
         Gives  building   inspectors  an   opportunity  to                                                                  
          inspect and reject the wood if necessary.                                                                             
Mr. Douse discussed slide 6 titled "What is a Local Use                                                                         
Lumber Program?" (continued):                                                                                                   
         Local use lumber  must be sold to the  end user or                                                                  
          the contractor building the home.                                                                                     
         Most states  only allow  residential (1   3 family                                                                  
          home) construction as well as outbuildings.                                                                           
         Mill  operator  must  take   and  pass  a  grading                                                                  
         Certification only lasts for 5 years.                                                                               
         Mill  operator  provides  a certificate  with  the                                                                  
          local lumber.                                                                                                         
         Only applies to softwood.                                                                                           
1:48:42 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Douse examined slide 7 titled Why is This Program                                                                           
Needed in Alaska:                                                                                                               
-    Wood prices have increased dramatically for home                                                                           
-    National Association of Home Builders notes wood                                                                           
prices add $36k to new single family home construction                                                                          
           Alaska Housing Finance Corporation cites high                                                                     
             cost of construction as a reason new building                                                                      
             permits fell 15%                                                                                                   
-    Canadian  import tariffs  on  softwood  were raised  to                                                                    
17.99% in early 2022                                                                                                            
           Alaska imports ~$20 million annually in wood                                                                      
             products   from    Canada    (Canadian    Trade                                                                    
           Forest Management                                                                                                 
             Salvage harvest of beetle-killed trees less                                                                        
             than 4 years past mortality.                                                                                       
             Increase forest management opportunities for                                                                       
             private landowners.                                                                                                
           Increase     economic    activity    in    rural                                                                  
           Increase milling capacity.                                                                                        
Mr.  Douse  addressed  slide 8  titled   Mill  Capacity  and                                                                    
Production  in  Alaska.   He  communicated  that  the  graph                                                                    
depicted  the  dimensional  lumber  production  capacity  in                                                                    
Alaska, measured in Thousand Board  Feet (MBF) over 20 years                                                                    
from  2000  to 2020.  He  noted  that  the majority  of  the                                                                    
states  wood products were from  Southeast Alaska and had an                                                                    
impact  statewide. He  delineated that  in 2020  the states                                                                     
capacity was 500,000 MBF and  the production was 87 MBF. The                                                                    
amount  of production  had decreased  significantly by  2020                                                                    
to 15.5 MBF. Alaska imported  about 200 MBF annually in wood                                                                    
products  from  Canada  not including  the  amount  of  wood                                                                    
products coming into the state from the lower 48 states.                                                                        
1:52:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Douse highlighted slide 9  titled  Grading Agency Lumber                                                                    
Standards." He explained that a  lumber grader was a career.                                                                    
He  pointed  to the  table  on  the  chart that  showed  the                                                                    
categories  and  the  types  of   grades  for  a  number  of                                                                    
different  use categories.  He  indicated  that the  grading                                                                    
system was  fairly complex, and  the bill was  not replacing                                                                    
the  graded lumber  system. The  legislation was  a way  for                                                                    
small mill operators to sell  their products for residential                                                                    
framed  construction. He  turned attention  to the  boxed in                                                                    
area on the  table in darker font and pointed  to the grades                                                                    
that the division was currently  working on substituting for                                                                    
the  state's proposed  lumber grading  program. The  states                                                                     
grading would  be fairly  straight forward  and conservative                                                                    
relative to the national grading equivalents.                                                                                   
1:54:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Douse moved to slide 10 titled Alaska Local Use Lumber                                                                      
Substitute Equivalent Grades:                                                                                                   
     Number 2 and Better:                                                                                                       
     Substitute equivalent to Number 2 Grade of Structural                                                                      
     Light Framing, Joists and Planks and Standard Grade of                                                                     
     the Light Framing use categories.                                                                                          
     Substitute   equivalent   to   Stud   Grade   used   in                                                                    
     residential construction.                                                                                                  
     Number 3                                                                                                                   
     Substitute equivalent to Number 3 Grade of Structural                                                                      
     Light Framing, Joists and Planks and Utility Grade of                                                                      
     the Light Framing use categories.                                                                                          
Mr. Douse  commented that the Alaska  standards were related                                                                    
to  the  industry standards  of  the  Western Wood  Products                                                                    
1:54:54 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Douse presented  slide 11  titled  Alaska  Training and                                                                    
     • One day free class focusing on visually grading                                                                          
       lumber to the three Alaska grades.                                                                                       
          O Issuance of Alaska Local Use Lumber handbook                                                                        
          O Issuance of Air-Drying Best Practices document                                                                      
       Offered at least annually in Southeast, Southcentral                                                                     
       and Interior                                                                                                             
     • Recertification required every five years                                                                                
     • Certification issued to the person, not the mill                                                                         
Mr.  Douse reported  that  by offering  the  class for  free                                                                    
people would take  the class more often than  every 5 years.                                                                    
He  reviewed slide  12 titled   Selling the  Lumber (special                                                                    
    Mill owner/operator sells the lumber directly to the                                                                     
     end user or to the contractor building the home.                                                                           
    Lumber sale must include documentation that describes                                                                    
     the 5 designations (grade, species, moisture content,                                                                      
     surface condition, size).                                                                                                  
    Lumber sale must include a copy of the mill owner's                                                                      
     certification with the Alaska Local Use Lumber                                                                             
    Building inspector may refuse the lumber.                                                                                
Co-Chair Foster OPENED public testimony.                                                                                        
JOE   YOUNG,   OWNER,   YOUNG'S  TIMBER   INC.,   TOK   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  strongly  supported  the  legislation.  He                                                                    
thanked  the  sponsors  and   committee  for  providing  the                                                                    
opportunity to  testify. He discussed his  business, Young's                                                                    
Timber  Inc. that  had  been in  operation  since 1993.  The                                                                    
operation had 4 different types  of sawmills that produced a                                                                    
range of  value added  products working with  a staff  of 12                                                                    
employees. He noted  that quality white spruce  lumber was a                                                                    
value added product and customers  commented on its superior                                                                    
quality  when  compared  to imported  lumber.  However,  his                                                                    
lumber is not  graded or certified due to the  high cost. He                                                                    
delineated  that Alaska  Spruce compared  to Douglas  Fir in                                                                    
test loads,  compression strength, and  elasticity according                                                                    
to Alaska  labs. He  believed that  the bill  would increase                                                                    
sawmill   sales,  create   timber  jobs,   and  help   build                                                                    
affordable housing.  He asked the  committee to  support the                                                                    
Representative Cronk thanked Mr. Young for testifying.                                                                          
2:00:51 PM                                                                                                                    
RODNEY  DIAL, MAYOR,  KETCHIKAN  GATEWAY BOROUGH,  KETCHIKAN                                                                    
(via teleconference),  spoke in support of  the legislation.                                                                    
He  shared that  the  community was  experiencing a  housing                                                                    
crisis  with  affordability  and  availability  the  leading                                                                    
causes.  The  crisis  was   impacting  the  citys   economic                                                                    
growth.  The  assembly  and  city  staff  were  looking  for                                                                    
opportunities  to encourage  new housing.  He believed  that                                                                    
the legislation provided the ability  to increase the lumber                                                                    
supply. Increasing  lumber prices added $30  thousand to the                                                                    
cost of a home in  Ketchikan that began during the pandemic,                                                                    
when  the lumber  supply was  constrained. He  recalled that                                                                    
historically Southeast  Alaska had  a long history  of small                                                                    
sawmills and  older homes were  built from local  timber. He                                                                    
viewed the  bill as  a means to  facilitate local  access to                                                                    
locally  produced lumber,  support  affordable housing,  and                                                                    
provide  jobs. He  encouraged the  committee to  support the                                                                    
2:02:46 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDREW   TRAXLER,    PAPOOSE   MILLING,   BIG    LAKE   (via                                                                    
teleconference), supported  HB 93.  He stressed the  need to                                                                    
also       pass       HB       104       (Timber       Sale:                                                                    
Expedited/Salvage/Negotiated) due to  the need for increased                                                                    
timber availability. He believed  that the bill was perfect.                                                                    
He discussed  the cost of  lumber from his sawmill  versus a                                                                    
box  store.  He  exemplified  the cost  of  a  rafter  board                                                                    
measuring 2  inches by  12 inches  by 20  feet long  that he                                                                    
charged $53.20  (throughout the COVID  19 pandemic  as well)                                                                    
that cost $93.00 from a box  store in the prior year and was                                                                    
currently $63.60. He  concluded that there was  a large cost                                                                    
savings when being able to buy wood locally.                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster noted  it was  not his  intent to  move the                                                                    
bill from committee during the  current meeting. He provided                                                                    
members the opportunity to ask questions.                                                                                       
Representative Hannan  stated her  support of the  bill. She                                                                    
shared that  in her district  lots of cabins were  built via                                                                    
ungraded  lumber from  local  mills  but building  inspector                                                                    
prohibited  its  use for  housing.  She  wondered about  the                                                                    
jurisdiction  of  the  state  and  whether  the  bill  would                                                                    
supersede local  laws to allow  for unstamped  lumber, since                                                                    
the state  lacked a statewide building  code. Representative                                                                    
Sumner  replied that  the bill  allowed  the local  building                                                                    
inspector to  reject lumber. He guessed  that Representative                                                                    
Hannan  was  asking  if  a  municipality  could  reject  the                                                                    
program entirely.  He believed  the answer  was yes,  but he                                                                    
would follow up.                                                                                                                
Representative Hannan  cited the  following from  the fiscal                                                                    
note:  Contractual costs through  an RSA with the University                                                                    
will  be incurred.  A  Wood  Utilization Specialist  faculty                                                                    
position will be created to  manage the Local Lumber program                                                                    
by training  regional instructors    She wondered  about the                                                                    
dialogue with  the University and  if they were  in process.                                                                    
She wondered where the position would be located.                                                                               
2:07:25 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Sumner  answered that  the position  would be                                                                    
housed at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF).                                                                            
JESSE  LOGAN, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE JESSE  SUMNER, deferred                                                                    
the question to Mr. Douse.                                                                                                      
Mr. Douse  responded that the Cooperative  Extension Service                                                                    
(CES)  resided at  UAF. However,  there  were UAF  extension                                                                    
service  employees  at  other   campuses  around  the  state                                                                    
(Juneau, Ketchikan,  and Anchorage.)  He explained  that the                                                                    
reason the position would be part  of CES was that a program                                                                    
to  help  natural  resource  based  industries  was  already                                                                    
established. He added that if  the Division of Forestry took                                                                    
on  the  program it  would  be  starting from  scratch.  The                                                                    
faculty position  would be  the only need  for CES  to carry                                                                    
out the program.                                                                                                                
2:09:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hannan   looked  for  more   specificity  on                                                                    
whether  the University  was  on board  with  the bill.  She                                                                    
noted that the person who  implemented the program needed to                                                                    
be  highly degreed.  She wondered  if the  UAF was  ready to                                                                    
roll out  the program. Mr.  Douse replied that  the division                                                                    
had been working with the  University throughout the process                                                                    
and they were completely on board.                                                                                              
Representative Josephson referenced  testimony that the bill                                                                    
could be  a catalyst for  road construction in  state forest                                                                    
for further access. He asked  how it would happen. Mr. Douse                                                                    
responded that  when the  state released  a timber  sale, if                                                                    
there was  no road access the  timber sale was used  to back                                                                    
out  some of  the cost  of road  construction. He  furthered                                                                    
that it  was not directly  related to  the bill, and  he was                                                                    
merely pointing out how the  division operated timber sales.                                                                    
He  ascertained that  if the  bill passed  it could  lead to                                                                    
increased demand for White Spruce  or other softwood timber,                                                                    
which  would lead  to more  road construction  via increased                                                                    
timber sales.                                                                                                                   
Representative Tomaszewski thanked  the sponsor for bringing                                                                    
the  bill  forward.  He  thanked   the  sponsor  for  giving                                                                    
accountability  to  the   municipal  inspector  through  the                                                                    
ability  to  reject lumber.  He  referred  to slide  9,  the                                                                    
grading agency lumber  standards, and noted that  it did not                                                                    
include  timbers or  special dimension  lumber. He  asked if                                                                    
they would be added in  the future. Mr. Douse responded that                                                                    
there was a  bit more nuance in grading  timber than lumber.                                                                    
He acknowledged  that there was  much interest  in including                                                                    
timbers  in the  program.  The bill  attempted  to build  up                                                                    
success in the  proposed program and then  include timber in                                                                    
the future. He  thought it would likely be  a separate class                                                                    
because grading  timber was more  nuanced   than dimensional                                                                    
2:14:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Tomaszewski  referenced  slide 12,  the first                                                                    
bullet  point  and  read:   Mill  owner/operator  sells  the                                                                    
lumber  directly  to  the  end user  or  to  the  contractor                                                                    
building  the  home.   He  asked   if  there  would  be  any                                                                    
provision allowing  a lumber  mill to sell  to a  box store.                                                                    
Representative  Sumner answered  that  the  concept was  not                                                                    
contemplated in  the current  bill because  there was  not a                                                                    
stamp on the lumber, the proposal was certificated program.                                                                     
Co-Chair  Edgmon  strongly  supported  the  bill.  He  asked                                                                    
whether  the bill  was an  entirely new  program. Mr.  Logan                                                                    
replied affirmatively.                                                                                                          
Co-Chair Edgmon  asked if there  was any wisdom to  make the                                                                    
program more  comprehensive defining  things like  local and                                                                    
sawmill size  and types, etc.  under the current bill  so it                                                                    
would not  require additional legislation in  the future. He                                                                    
did not  want to slow  progress on  the bill but  thought it                                                                    
would  be more  advantageous.  Mr. Logan  responded that  he                                                                    
agreed  with Representative  Edgmon and  supported including                                                                    
more definitions.  Co-Chair Edgmon thought  more definitions                                                                    
would strengthen the bill.                                                                                                      
2:18:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Stapp  wondered how the wood  would be graded                                                                    
via the  states  regulatory process.  He looked at  slide 12                                                                    
and read the second bullet  point,  Lumber sale must include                                                                    
documentation  that  describes  the 5  designations  (grade,                                                                    
species,  moisture content,  surface  condition, size).   He                                                                    
asked  for   a  description   of  the   regulatory  process.                                                                    
Representative Sumner replied  that currently grading stamps                                                                    
were done  by private organizations and  grades were adopted                                                                    
in  code. Currently,  there were  not statutory  definitions                                                                    
for grading  due to the  lack of a statewide  building code.                                                                    
He did not  know whether it would be appropriate  to get too                                                                    
down into the weeds by  defining grades in statute when they                                                                    
were regulatory issues.                                                                                                         
Representative   Ortiz   supported   the   legislation.   He                                                                    
referenced testimony  by the  first testifier  who advocated                                                                    
for more timber  to be made available for  harvest. He asked                                                                    
if  the  bill  created   more  competition  for  the  timber                                                                    
resources currently being made  available. He asked if there                                                                    
was any  pushback that the  bill would create  more problems                                                                    
related to  a lack of supply.  Representative Sumner replied                                                                    
in the negative.                                                                                                                
2:22:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Ortiz  clarified that  he wondered if  he had                                                                    
heard pushback  that the bill  would create an  even greater                                                                    
demand  for  Alaska  timber  that  was  already  in  limited                                                                    
supply. Mr. Logan  replied they had not  heard any pushback.                                                                    
He  shared  there  were  numerous   letters  of  support  in                                                                    
members' packets. Many were from  local sawmills that wanted                                                                    
their products to be available to residential builders.                                                                         
Representative Cronk  thanked the sponsors for  the bill. He                                                                    
believed that the  local lumber supply was  limited, and the                                                                    
sawmills  were being   squeezed.   He thought  the bill  was                                                                    
beneficial especially for local operators in rural Alaska.                                                                      
Representative Coulombe  asked if the sponsor  was confident                                                                    
banks  would   provide  loans  for  the   certified  lumber.                                                                    
Representative Sumner answered in  the affirmative and added                                                                    
that  he  did  not  anticipate any  issues  with  financing.                                                                    
Representative  Coulombe thanked  the  sponsor for  bringing                                                                    
the bill forward.                                                                                                               
2:26:23 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Galvin  was  supportive  of  the  bill.  She                                                                    
looked at slide 6,  page 2 of the bill, lines  20 to 22 that                                                                    
referred  to  one,  two, and  three  family  dwellings.  She                                                                    
pointed to the second bullet  point on slide 6:  Most states                                                                    
only allow  residential (1  3  family home)  construction as                                                                    
well  as outbuildings.   She assumed  the 3  unit limit  was                                                                    
included for a  reason but wondered how that  would affect a                                                                    
4-plex residential  structure. She reasoned that  there were                                                                    
many 4-plex units in  Alaska. Representative Sumner deferred                                                                    
the question to Mr. Douse.                                                                                                      
Mr. Douse  replied that the  state program   dovetailed  the                                                                    
current code.  He understood  that any  residential dwelling                                                                    
larger  than 3  units required  an engineers   stamp besides                                                                    
building   inspectors'   approval.   Representative   Galvin                                                                    
ascertained that  it was not  related to the  product itself                                                                    
but would add an  extra layer   that was not included in the                                                                    
bill. Mr. Douse responded in the affirmative.                                                                                   
Representative Sumner interjected  that commercial occupancy                                                                    
dwellings  were entirely  different  from residential.  Tri-                                                                    
plexes  fell   under  the  national  residential   code  and                                                                    
anything larger fell under commercial construction codes.                                                                       
Co-Chair Foster CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
Co-Chair  Foster recognized  Senator Jesse  Bjorkman in  the                                                                    
Representative Sumner thanked the  committee for hearing the                                                                    
HB  93  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 26                                                                                                             
     "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."                                                                                              
2:30:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ANDI  STORY, SPONSOR, introduced  herself and                                                                    
the  legislation.   She  related  that  the   Alaska  Native                                                                    
Language  Preservation  and  Advisory Council  (ANLPAC)  was                                                                    
created by the 27   legislature and the governor appointed 5                                                                    
voting members that were  professional language experts from                                                                    
diverse regions  of the state. Additionally,  there were two                                                                    
non-voting  members; one  from the  House and  one from  the                                                                    
Senate. Representative Story shared that  she was one of the                                                                    
non-voting  members.  She  shared  that the  bill  had  been                                                                    
before the committee in the  past. She relayed the council's                                                                    
purpose and mission:                                                                                                            
    The Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory                                                                       
     Council  provides recommendations  and  advice to  both                                                                    
     the  Governor and  Legislature  on programs,  policies,                                                                    
     and projects;  and to network  and advocate  in support                                                                    
     of the Council's mission.                                                                                                  
    The mission of ANLPAC is to advocate for the survival                                                                    
     and revitalization of Alaska Native languages through                                                                      
     collaboration and sharing for all.                                                                                         
Representative  Story explained  that  HB  26 changed  three                                                                    
things that  had to be  accomplished via statute.  The first                                                                    
provision was to shorten the  council's name, the second was                                                                    
to expand the  membership, and expand the  list of languages                                                                    
to  include Native  languages  that  had inadvertently  been                                                                    
left  out  of  the  prior  bill.  She  emphasized  that  the                                                                    
provisions were significant to the  council. The name change                                                                    
to the "Council for  Alaska Native Languages  emphasized its                                                                    
broader  focus,  which  included  more  than  just  language                                                                    
preservation    but   also    embraced   restoration,    and                                                                    
revitalization of Alaska Native  languages. The Council also                                                                    
requested  an  increase in  membership  from  five to  seven                                                                    
members in  recognition that there were  23 Native languages                                                                    
in Alaska.  The additional  members would capture  a greater                                                                    
perspective, allow for  greater language representation, and                                                                    
expanded the  involvement for various regions.  Finally, the                                                                    
bill revised  the official list  of Alaska  Native languages                                                                    
that were the  co-official   languages of Alaska established                                                                    
in 2015.  The current list  of 20  languages was based  on a                                                                    
1974 map by  Dr. Michael Krauss, but it  was discovered that                                                                    
23  languages exist.  She urged  the committee  to pass  the                                                                    
legislation.  She  informed  the  committee  that  the  bill                                                                    
packets  included  one fiscal  note  and  a summary  by  the                                                                    
Alaska  Native  Language  Preservation  &  Advisory  Council                                                                    
(copy on file).                                                                                                                 
2:34:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MIRANDA  WORL, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE  ANDI STORY,  reviewed                                                                    
the sectional analysis (copy on file):                                                                                          
     Section  1: Amends  AS 44.12.310(a)  to add  Cup'ig and                                                                    
 (Ts'etsa'ut) as official  languages of Alaska and                                                                              
     divide  Tanana  into   the  Benhti  Kokhwt'ana  Kenaga'                                                                    
     (Lower  Tanana) and  Sahcheeg  xut'een xneege'  (Middle                                                                    
     Tanana) languages.                                                                                                         
     Section 2: Amends AS 44.33.520(a)  to simplify the name                                                                    
     of   the   Council   from   "Alaska   Native   Language                                                                    
     Preservation  and  Advisory  Council" to  "Council  for                                                                    
     Alaska Native Languages."                                                                                                  
     Section 3:  Amends AS  44.33.520(c) by  changing voting                                                                    
     members from "five" to "seven.                                                                                             
Co-Chair Foster asked for a review of the fiscal note.                                                                          
Ms. Worl reviewed the fiscal  impact note from Department of                                                                    
Commerce, Community and Economic  Development (CED) FN1. She                                                                    
relayed that  the fiscal note  appropriated $10  thousand in                                                                    
travel costs to  allow the two additional  members to travel                                                                    
to two meetings per year as per statute.                                                                                        
2:36:53 PM                                                                                                                    
YAAYUK   ALVANNA-STIMPFLE,  CO-CHAIR,   ANLPAC,  NOME   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  provided  testimony   in  support  of  the                                                                    
legislation.  She addressed  each section  of the  bill. She                                                                    
referred to  Section 1 and  informed the committee  that the                                                                    
section  added  native languages  to  the  list of  official                                                                    
languages  in the  state as  follows: Cipig,   Upper Tanana,                                                                    
Middle Tanana,  and Lower Tanana.  She read from  a prepared                                                                    
     Council  for  Alaska  Native Languages:  What  does  it                                                                    
     Section 2:                                                                                                                 
     1) Preservation                                                                                                            
     A.  Archives:  this  means working  in  archives  where                                                                    
     Native languages  were recorded from years  past. There                                                                    
     are  large and  small archival  repositories where  new                                                                    
     generations  can  be  supported to  acquire  and  learn                                                                    
     their respective languages.                                                                                                
     B. Media:  There are resources  online on  the internet                                                                    
     for  learners and  researchers to  find information  to                                                                    
     develop  learning  materials. Indigenous  people  share                                                                    
     what   they  have   learned   what   works  for   their                                                                    
     communities and learning institutions.                                                                                     
Ms.  Alvanna-Stimpfle provided  an example  of her  daughter                                                                    
who taught Inupiaq to her  students all day without speaking                                                                    
English  and other  Inupiaq speaking  school districts  were                                                                    
interested in visiting her class  to observe how she teaches                                                                    
her students.                                                                                                                   
     C. Community  Wellness: Indigenous people  work towards                                                                    
     wellness for adults  to learn what was  lost from their                                                                    
     past  treatments  of  knowing  how  to  speak  to  home                                                                    
     language  at schools  and churches.  This caused  Post-                                                                    
     Traumatic Stress Disorder for  the next generations. To                                                                    
     break  this  trauma,  Indigenous have  worked  hard  on                                                                    
     cultural wellness in arts  and ceremonies to revitalize                                                                    
     what was lost.                                                                                                             
     2) Restoration                                                                                                             
     A. Reclaim  in restoring  our Native languages,  we are                                                                    
     reclaiming who we  are and where we come  from. We have                                                                    
     come  from thousands  of years  of  not only  surviving                                                                    
     harsh  environments but  also,  thriving  in that  very                                                                    
     environment. Our  languages comes  from our  land, sea,                                                                    
     and resources in the air.                                                                                                  
     B. Rebirth  and Renaissance:  This is the  time (today,                                                                    
     now)  for   revival  of  all   of  our   Alaska  Native                                                                    
     languages. The language council  works towards to this,                                                                    
     where our languages are normalized in the whole State.                                                                     
Ms.  Alvanna-Stimpfle  interjected  that she  had  travelled                                                                    
with her  daughter to a  town north of Quebec,  Canada where                                                                    
every person spoke their native language.                                                                                       
     3) Revitalization                                                                                                          
     A.  Build  on  Native  Identity: When  a  young  person                                                                    
     learns in the language,  they are forming an Indigenous                                                                    
     identity. (Note, not learning the language).                                                                               
     B. Moving Forward: The ultimate  result is for cultural                                                                    
     wellness  and  being  able to  speak  from  the  Native                                                                    
Ms.  Alvanna-Stimpfle related  that  the native  perspective                                                                    
was very  different than  how its  expressed in  English and                                                                    
the train of thought was  different. She emphasized that the                                                                    
young people  needed to learn  their languages  because they                                                                    
would be responsible for teaching them in the future.                                                                           
     Section 3:                                                                                                                 
     4) Seven Voting  Members   Alaska needs to  hear from a                                                                    
     wider community  of Alaska Native language  experts and                                                                    
     the advocates  of language warriors.  This makes  for a                                                                    
     stronger  network  of  language   work  with  the  same                                                                    
     perspective  of  revitalizing Indigenous  languages  in                                                                    
She concluded  that the council  highly supported  the bill.                                                                    
She thanked the committee.                                                                                                      
2:42:16 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson asked if  there were languages that                                                                    
had not  survived since the first   contact  with non-native                                                                    
people in 1741.                                                                                                                 
Representative  Story replied  that  if a  language was  not                                                                    
being  spoken  currently  it  was  considered  dormant.  She                                                                    
deferred to Ms. Alvanna-Stimpfle for further answer.                                                                            
Ms. Alvanna-Stimpfle  replied that Eyak was  disappearing in                                                                    
the  1980s  and linguists  like  Dr.  Michael Krauss  worked                                                                    
diligently with the last remaining  speakers to document the                                                                    
language.  Amazingly, a  young French  linguist learned  the                                                                    
language with  the help of  Dr. Krauss and had  been working                                                                    
with families  to revitalize the  language. She  was unaware                                                                    
of any other languages lost but was sure there were others.                                                                     
Co-Chair Foster noted the bill would be heard again.                                                                            
Representative Story  reiterated that the  council published                                                                    
an  annual Summary  of Recommendations  for the  legislature                                                                    
and governor. She highlighted  the recommendation to restore                                                                    
full funding to the council.  She indicated that the council                                                                    
had  lost  its  funding   for  administrative  support.  The                                                                    
council  was currently  operating  with only  one full  time                                                                    
research analyst. She would welcome  an amendment to restore                                                                    
the  administrative position.  She  urged  the committee  to                                                                    
read the entire document.                                                                                                       
HB  26  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
Co-Chair Foster reviewed the schedule for the following                                                                         
2:46:57 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 2:46 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB026 Additional Documents-Alaska 23 Indigenous Languages 03.27.23.pdf HFIN 4/14/2023 1:30:00 PM
HB 26
HB026 Additional Documents-ANLPAC 2022 Summary of Recommendations 03.27.23.pdf HFIN 4/14/2023 1:30:00 PM
HB 26
HB026 Sectional Analysis 03.27.23.pdf HFIN 4/14/2023 1:30:00 PM
HB 26
HB026 Sponsor Statement 03.21.23.pdf HFIN 4/14/2023 1:30:00 PM
HB 26
HB026 Summary of Changes 03.27.23.pdf HFIN 4/14/2023 1:30:00 PM
HB 26
HB 93 DOF Lumber Grading Presentation 4.13.23.pdf HFIN 4/14/2023 1:30:00 PM
HB 93
HB 93 Sectional Analysis Version A.pdf HFIN 4/14/2023 1:30:00 PM
HB 93
HB 93 Letters of Support bundle.pdf HFIN 4/14/2023 1:30:00 PM
HB 93
HB 93 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/14/2023 1:30:00 PM
HB 93