Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124

02/17/2005 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 122 LIFE INSURANCE FOR NATIONAL GUARD TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HJR 8 SUPPORTING ALASKA ARMY NATL. GUARD TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
Discussion of Potential Cmte. Legislation
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
   HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                  
                       February 17, 2005                                                                                        
                           1:09 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom                                                                                                  
Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                       
Representative Bill Thomas                                                                                                      
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lesil McGuire                                                                                                    
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 122                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to payment  of premiums  for Service  members'                                                               
Group Life Insurance on behalf  of members of the Alaska National                                                               
Guard deployed to  a combat zone; and providing  for an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     -HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 8                                                                                                    
Expressing support of Alaska Army National Guard soldiers                                                                       
deployed worldwide.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     -MOVED HJR 8 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
BILL: HB 122                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LIFE INSURANCE FOR NATIONAL GUARD                                                                                  
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) DAHLSTROM                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
02/02/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/02/05       (H)       MLV, L&C, FIN                                                                                          
02/02/05       (H)       L&C REFERRAL REMOVED                                                                                   
02/17/05       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR  8                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SUPPORTING ALASKA ARMY NATL. GUARD                                                                                 
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WEYHRAUCH                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
02/02/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/02/05       (H)       MLV, STA                                                                                               
02/17/05       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TERRY HARVEY, Staff                                                                                                             
for Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented HJR  8 on behalf of  the sponsor,                                                               
Representative Weyhrauch.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Bridges                                                                                                 
Alaska National Guard                                                                                                           
Fort Richardson                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Offered testimony in support of HJR 8.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BOB  LYNN called  the House  Special Committee  on Military                                                             
and   Veterans'  Affairs   meeting  to   order  at   1:09:41  PM.                                                             
Representatives Dalhstrom, Elkins, Thomas,  and Lynn were present                                                               
at the  call to order.   Representative Gruenberg arrived  as the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 122-LIFE INSURANCE FOR NATIONAL GUARD                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  order of business would  be HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO.  122, "An  Act  relating  to  payment of  premiums  for                                                               
Service members'  Group Life  Insurance on  behalf of  members of                                                               
the  Alaska  National  Guard  deployed  to  a  combat  zone;  and                                                               
providing for an  effective date."  Chair Lynn  announced that HB
122 will not be moved today and will be heard first.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM stated  that  HB 122  pertains to  life                                                               
insurance  for the  National Guard,  at a  time when  the federal                                                               
government  is considering  action to  better serve  its military                                                               
men  in other  countries; The  Alaskan Guard  deserves the  same.                                                               
This bill  will pay  life insurance  premiums for  guardsmen that                                                               
are deployed  to combat  zones.   She went on  to say  that these                                                               
guardsmen are our neighbors, co-workers,  and some are even staff                                                               
here in  this building.   This bill  provides extra  security for                                                               
their  dependents,  gives  them  piece  of  mind,  and  a  little                                                               
assistance  while they  are away.   This  legislation will  allow                                                               
premiums to  be paid up  to $250,000.   This bill  has bipartisan                                                               
support.   Representative  Dahlstrom  characterized HB  122 as  a                                                               
work in progress.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  asked what  the out  of pocket  expense was  for this                                                               
insurance.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM  answered   that  it  is  approximately                                                               
$16.25 a month.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN replied that the state  should be able to afford this,                                                               
considering what these guardsmen are  going through to defend the                                                               
national policy.   He then  queried the  Representative Dahlstrom                                                               
as to whether any of the guardsmen had died as of yet.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  asserted that though they  had not come                                                               
back with any  dead among them, some guardsmen  had returned with                                                               
some physical injuries and issues that they needed to address.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:13:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS  asked if  the committee could  extend this                                                               
to property extension payments.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  replied that this  is one of  the items                                                               
that is on a list that  is being considered for inclusion in this                                                               
bill, or within newer ones being considered                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS asked if he could co-sponsor the bill.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM answered  that she  would love  to have                                                               
him onboard the bill packet.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN agreed  that anything  the committee  can do  to help                                                               
those  in the  military is  something it  should look  into.   He                                                               
opened  the  floor  to  more  questions and  then  asked  if  the                                                               
committee could go ahead and move it out of committee.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM agreed  the  issue of  property tax  is                                                               
enormous.    She expressed  the  need  to review  how  deployment                                                               
affects finances.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
[HB 122 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HJR  8-SUPPORTING ALASKA ARMY NATL. GUARD                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:15:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 8 "Expressing support  of Alaska Army                                                               
National  Guard soldiers  deployed worldwide".   He  related that                                                               
HJR  8  will  show  legislative support  for  the  Army  National                                                               
Guardsmen currently deployed around the world.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TERRY HARVEY,  Staff for  Representative Bruce  Weyhrauch, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  announced that  this resolution  is a  way to                                                               
address concerns  and give support  to the guardsmen  from Alaska                                                               
who are deployed all around the  world.  This resolution is a way                                                               
of  putting  on  record  that the  committee  supports  the  Army                                                               
National Guardsmen  for serving  the country.   The  bill sponsor                                                               
believes it's  important to show  support for the  National Guard                                                               
who are  letting their lives  go while serving their  country and                                                               
state.  It is important to  show support, but it's also important                                                               
to  extend this  gratitude  to  family and  friends,  as well  as                                                               
employers who also support the troops.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  asked if the Air  National Guard was also  covered or                                                               
if there was a similar bill for them as well.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARVEY answered that there was  not, and that since this bill                                                               
was already  in the works  the sponsor  decided that he  would go                                                               
forward with  HJR 8.   He indicated that  he had been  talking to                                                               
the  Air  National Guard  and  that  legislation addressing  that                                                               
branch of the military is in the planning stage.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  continued by  stating that  this could  be done  as a                                                               
committee  bill.     He  indicated  that  he  did   not  want  to                                                               
discriminate against any of the Guard units.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:19:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARVEY  suggested  that  the   committee  ask  the  military                                                               
representatives for comment.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT COLONEL MIKE BRIDGES,  Alaskan Army/Air National Guard                                                               
Officers  Association,  Legislative   Liaison,  Fort  Richardson,                                                               
stated that  the Army  National Guard is  being deployed  in very                                                               
unique ways  right now, more  than since  the years of  World War                                                               
II, and  that he was all  for the resolution.   He also indicated                                                               
that although  he was  all for including  the Air  National Guard                                                               
into  the resolution,  he acknowledged  that  the resolution  was                                                               
addressing the  high deployment that  the Alaskan  National Guard                                                               
is currently  experiencing.   He added  as a  side note  that the                                                               
officers  association that  he is  representing did  include both                                                               
Army and Air Force, and that he represented both.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS  asked if  what he was  saying was  that he                                                               
wanted  to be  considered as  a  separate entity  at the  present                                                               
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
LT.  COLONEL BRIDGES  answered that  the Army  National Guard  is                                                               
being deployed  at a  very different rate  than the  Air National                                                               
Guard and that it is  more than anything military had experienced                                                               
since World  War II.  He  then pointed out that  the Air National                                                               
Guard  is  being deployed  as  well,  but under  different  [non-                                                               
combative]  circumstances. He  then added  that the  Air National                                                               
Guard  goes  only for  30-120  days  for operational  deployment,                                                               
whereas the  Army National Guard goes  for a 18 months  and up to                                                               
two-year deployments.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM moved  to report HJR 8  out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced  that he was looking forward  to seeing this                                                               
on the floor and being voted into law.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special Committee  on Military and Veterans'  Affairs meeting was                                                               
adjourned at 1:22:18 p.m.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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