Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106

04/15/2014 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 356(STA) Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 15, 2014                                                                                         
                           8:05 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Wes Keller, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Lynn Gattis                                                                                                      
Representative Shelley Hughes                                                                                                   
Representative Doug Isaacson                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 206(STA)                                                                                                 
"An  Act  relating  to  motor   vehicle  registration  and  fees;                                                               
relating to licensing  of school bus drivers;  relating to notice                                                               
of an  accident involving a  motor vehicle; and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 206(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 356                                                                                                              
"An  Act establishing  the Advisory  Committee  on Wellness;  and                                                               
relating to  the administration  of state group  health insurance                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 356(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 26                                                                                                  
Recognizing June 14,  2014, as the 60th anniversary  of the first                                                               
recital of the United States  Pledge of Allegiance with the words                                                               
"under God."                                                                                                                    
     - MOVED SJR 26 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 206                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: VEHICLE REGIS/LICENSING/ACCIDENT REPORTS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MICCICHE                                                                                                 
02/26/14       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/26/14       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
03/18/14       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/18/14       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/18/14       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/20/14       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/20/14       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/20/14       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/25/14       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/25/14       (S)       Moved CSSB 206(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/25/14       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/26/14       (S)       STA RPT CS 3DP 1NR   SAME TITLE                                                                        
03/26/14       (S)       DP: DYSON, COGHILL, GIESSEL                                                                            
03/26/14       (S)       NR: WIELECHOWSKI                                                                                       
04/09/14       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
04/09/14       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 206(STA)                                                                                 
04/10/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/10/14       (H)       STA                                                                                                    
04/15/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
BILL: HB 356                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON WELLNESS                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SEATON                                                                                            
02/26/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/26/14       (H)       HSS, STA                                                                                               
03/20/14       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/20/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/20/14       (H)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
04/10/14       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/10/14       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
04/10/14       (H)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
04/11/14       (H)       HSS RPT 2DP 3NR                                                                                        
04/11/14       (H)       DP: SEATON, NAGEAK                                                                                     
04/11/14       (H)       NR: PRUITT, KELLER, HIGGINS                                                                            
04/15/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
BILL: SJR 26                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE                                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) COGHILL                                                                                                  
02/21/14       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/21/14       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
03/13/14       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/13/14       (S)       Moved SJR 26 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/13/14       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/14/14       (S)       STA RPT   3DP                                                                                          
03/14/14       (S)       DP: DYSON, COGHILL, GIESSEL                                                                            
04/12/14       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
04/12/14       (S)       VERSION: SJR 26                                                                                        
04/13/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/13/14       (H)       STA                                                                                                    
04/15/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SENATOR PETER MICCICHE                                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented CSSB 206(STA).                                                               
BARBARA HUFF TUCKNESS, Director                                                                                                 
Teamsters Local 959                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSSB 206(STA).                                                                   
AMY ERICKSON, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV)                                                                                                
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the hearing on                                                                 
CSSB 206(STA).                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL SEATON                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented HB 356.                                                                      
RYNNIEVA MOSS, Staff                                                                                                            
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SJR 26 on behalf of Senator                                                                    
Coghill, prime sponsor.                                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:05:31 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  WES KELLER  called the  House State  Affairs Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  8:05 a.m.  Representatives Gattis,                                                               
Isaacson, Hughes, and  Keller were present at the  call to order.                                                               
Representative Lynn arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                     
        SB 206-VEHICLE REGIS/LICENSING/ACCIDENT REPORTS                                                                     
8:05:50 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER announced that  the first order of business was                                                               
CS  FOR SENATE  BILL  NO.  206(STA), "An  Act  relating to  motor                                                               
vehicle registration  and fees;  relating to licensing  of school                                                               
bus drivers; relating to notice  of an accident involving a motor                                                               
vehicle; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
8:06:34 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  PETER  MICCICHE,  Alaska  State  Legislature,  as  prime                                                               
sponsor, presented  CSSB 206(STA).   He said  the bill  was about                                                               
three  things:  efficiency  of the  Division  of  Motor  Vehicles                                                               
(DMV),  timely  reporting  of  highway  accidents,  and  ensuring                                                               
appropriate employees are entrusted  to drive children to school.                                                               
He said he envisions a DMV where  most of the business is done on                                                               
line.   People would set  up an  account where they  could manage                                                               
the  registration and  other payments  on  their vehicles,  using                                                               
PayPal or a credit card.  He  said statutes need to be updated to                                                               
facilitate  the  use of  current  technology,  which he  said  he                                                               
believes would  reduce costs.   He said the  proposed legislation                                                               
would allow  the DMV to  use e-mail notification, would  put into                                                               
statute the current process of waiving  the $10 fee for using the                                                               
web  site  to  renew  registrations,  and  would  allow  accident                                                               
reports to be submitted electronically.                                                                                         
SENATOR MICCICHE emphasized that the  only licenses that would be                                                               
affected  under  CSSB  206(STA)  would be  those  of  school  bus                                                               
drivers.   He named the following  crimes as allowed in  the past                                                               
history  of school  bus drivers:    murder, assault,  kidnapping,                                                               
indecent  exposure,  and  felony   prostitution.    The  proposed                                                               
legislation would give a 10-year  "look back" for existing school                                                               
bus license  holders and  require a  background check  every five                                                               
years  at  renewal.   It  would  give  [the DMV]  discretion  for                                                               
licensing a  person convicted of  a misdemeanor within  the prior                                                               
two years, if the crime did not involve a child.                                                                                
8:09:54 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  said he  likes the common  sense aspect  of the                                                               
proposed  legislation,  as  well   as  the  focus  on  increasing                                                               
efficiency.   He  asked  the  committee to  think  about a  fleet                                                               
manager  and how  easily he/she  could manage  stock in  a couple                                                               
hours  a year  by using  on  line resources.   He  asked for  the                                                               
committee's support of  CSSB 206(STA), and noted  that there were                                                               
representatives  available from  the  DMV and  the Department  of                                                               
Administration (DOA) to answer questions.                                                                                       
8:10:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES noted that  some people change their e-mail                                                               
addresses frequently.  She asked  if, under CSSB 206(STA), people                                                               
would have the  option of being notified by e-mail  or the United                                                               
States Postal Service (USPS), or if  the DMV would use the e-mail                                                               
option if it had the person's e-mail address.                                                                                   
SENATOR  MICCICHE  responded that  the  purpose  of the  proposed                                                               
legislation was to make it legal  for the DMV to make the change;                                                               
it would not  set up the details for the  department.  He offered                                                               
his understanding that the DMV would  not rely on just one method                                                               
of communication; it  would ensure that people are  notified.  He                                                               
said he  envisions a box that  could be checked to  indicate that                                                               
the individual wants to receive  notifications by e-mail, and the                                                               
person would periodically  go the web site and  update his/her e-                                                               
mail notification.   He said  it would  be similar to  people who                                                               
get mailed  notifications and  notify the DMV  when they  have an                                                               
address change.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  said she supports  paperless transactions,                                                               
but  knows that  sometimes spam  filters "catch"  e-mails so  the                                                               
intended recipient  does not see  them.  She indicated  she would                                                               
hear what the DMV's plans would  be.  She explained that she does                                                               
not want people to  have to pay a penalty if  they do not receive                                                               
an e-mail.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR  MICCICHE, in  response to  Vice Chair  Keller, clarified                                                               
that the  language in the  bill relating to  criminal convictions                                                               
relates  solely  to the  licensing  of  school bus  drivers,  but                                                               
Section 8 addresses licensing in general.                                                                                       
8:14:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON said,  "So,  Section 3  starts with  the                                                               
school bus drivers."                                                                                                            
SENATOR MICCICHE said, "Right."                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  thanked the  bill sponsor  for proposing                                                               
the improvements  under CSSB 206(STA).   He asked him  to confirm                                                               
that under  the proposed legislation, all  actions currently made                                                               
with  the  DMV would  be  available  electronically or  would  be                                                               
SENATOR MICCICHE  offered his understanding  that none  were left                                                               
out; however, he deferred to the  director of the DMV.  He stated                                                               
his assumption that  there are some documents  that would require                                                               
an applicant to be physically present to sign his/her name.                                                                     
8:15:12 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER opened public testimony.                                                                                      
8:15:35 AM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA HUFF  TUCKNESS, Director, Teamsters Local  959, testified                                                               
in support of CSSB 206(STA).   She assured the committee that she                                                               
trusts the  hundreds of school  bus drivers that  Teamsters Local                                                               
959  hires,  because of  the  due  diligence  of the  DMV,  which                                                               
currently    runs    background    checks   on    the    drivers.                                                               
Notwithstanding  that,  she  said Teamsters  Local  959  supports                                                               
"cleaning up  that effort."   She  said she  has spoken  with the                                                               
staff of the  bill sponsor and the director of  the DMV regarding                                                               
language on page 5, lines 1-3, which read as follows:                                                                           
     A person may renew a  license under this section within                                                                    
     one   year   before    its   expiration   upon   proper                                                                    
     application,  payment  of  the required  fee,  and  the                                                                    
     completion of  a background check under  (b)(4) of this                                                                    
8:18:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HUFF TUCKNESS  said this is new language,  and she questioned                                                               
whether the language  needs to be clarified.   She explained that                                                               
the understanding  of Teamsters  Local 959  is that  "the current                                                               
practice  shall  continue  to  apply," which  is:  a  bus  driver                                                               
applies for a  license from the DMV, in  conjunction with his/her                                                               
commercial driver's license (CDL); a  background check is done by                                                               
the State of Alaska once the  bus driver has applied for the job;                                                               
the application is  made directly to the school district  or to a                                                               
contractor with  the school district;  once awarded the  job, the                                                               
bus  driver goes  through the  DMV licensure  process.   Ms. Huff                                                               
Tuckness said  in addition to  the state background  check, there                                                               
is  a  federal  background  check   done;  however,  the  federal                                                               
government  is not  as quick  with  the results.   She  expressed                                                               
concern  with  allowing bus  drivers  to  start work  before  the                                                               
federal  results   are  reported   and  then   terminating  their                                                               
employment  if and  when  the federal  background  check finds  a                                                               
criminal record.  She explained that  it is difficult to hire and                                                               
retain  school  bus  drivers  because  of  the  number  of  hours                                                               
available, the  unusual schedule, and the  nine-month duration of                                                               
the school  term.  She  stated that Teamsters Local  959 supports                                                               
all the  other changes in CSSB  206(STA), but wants to  make sure                                                               
that  an   already  difficult  hiring  process   is  not  further                                                               
complicated.   She added, "Because  if they are awarded  and then                                                               
they  have to  wait  six  months, they're  probably  going to  be                                                               
looking for other employment."                                                                                                  
8:19:36 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HUFF  TUCKNESS,  in  response  to  Representative  Isaacson,                                                               
clarified  that under  the  proposed  legislation, a  prospective                                                               
employee would have  to wait until the federal  response had been                                                               
received before being  allowed to go to work.   She said that has                                                               
not been the  practice.  She indicated concern  that the proposed                                                               
legislation may  negatively impact  current practice  of clearing                                                               
someone for hire  through the state background check.   She said,                                                               
"Once they've actually been cleared  through the state background                                                               
check -  and those new provisions  that they will be  checked for                                                               
will be  included in that  - then  they are actually  awarded the                                                               
job,   pending  anything   negative  coming   from  the   federal                                                               
background check.                                                                                                               
8:20:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON  said  he   appreciates  that  Ms.  Huff                                                               
Tuckness wants  to put people to  work and does not  want to lose                                                               
good  drivers; however,  he said  there could  be a  situation in                                                               
which a person who had committed  a type of crime that would make                                                               
him/her unfit to  be a school bus driver would  be hired, because                                                               
the  state's  background check  showed  nothing,  but six  months                                                               
later  the  federal  background check  results  would  show  that                                                               
criminal  background.    He  said  that may  not  be  the  normal                                                               
situation, but on the other hand,  for a person looking for work,                                                               
"that's maybe a good place to  hide, unless the word goes out you                                                               
will be found."                                                                                                                 
8:21:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HUFF  TUCKNESS said  she does  not know how  to speed  up the                                                               
federal process,  which she indicated  she had heard can  take up                                                               
to  six months.   She  deferred  to the  director of  the DMV  to                                                               
answer  questions, but  said the  issue concerns  Teamsters Local                                                               
959.   She said  she thinks  Representative Isaacson's  point was                                                               
well taken.                                                                                                                     
8:22:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS said, "If  you don't know your information,                                                               
you do  the best  with what you  have."  She  said if  someone is                                                               
hired  and  information  comes  in  that  shows  the  person  has                                                               
committed an  offense that warrants firing  him/her, then actions                                                               
are taken  at that point  to dismiss  the person.   She expressed                                                               
her  hope that  Teamsters  Local  959 supports  that  idea.   She                                                               
stated, "I  certainly would  not want to  have a  school district                                                               
not  be  able  to  let  that   employee  go  based  on  that  new                                                               
information that they received."                                                                                                
8:23:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HUFF  TUCKNESS emphasized that  Teamsters Local  959 supports                                                               
the  current  practice  wherein  the  school  district  immediate                                                               
terminates the employment  of a school bus driver  if it receives                                                               
a negative  report from the  federal background check.   She said                                                               
Teamsters  Local 959  respects good  bus drivers  and appreciates                                                               
that they drive with up to  85 children behind them and make sure                                                               
these children make it safely to school.                                                                                        
8:24:22 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  KELLER remarked that  rushing the  federal government                                                               
is not  an option.   He said he  would resist giving  the federal                                                               
government precedence  over what  Alaska does, because  the state                                                               
has  a good  system and  the responsibility  to make  that system                                                               
8:25:08 AM                                                                                                                    
AMY  ERICKSON,  Director,  Division   of  Motor  Vehicles  (DMV),                                                               
Department  of   Administration,  said  she  believes   Ms.  Huff                                                               
Tuckness was  correct in her outlining  of the DMV process.   She                                                               
said the DMV accepts the  application, takes a check for [payment                                                               
of] the  background check, and  submits the fingerprints.   There                                                               
is a  review of the  applications, at which time  the fingerprint                                                               
cards are  sent to the  Department of Public Safety  (DPS), which                                                               
takes 30-60 days to  deliver a response back to the  DMV.  If the                                                               
background check comes  back with "anything on  the record," then                                                               
the DMV sends an immediate cancellation.                                                                                        
8:25:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  asked how  much of the  background check                                                               
process of the state mirrors that of the federal government.                                                                    
8:26:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ERICKSON said  she is not certain how they  compare, but said                                                               
the DMV reviews  the results of the state's  background check for                                                               
disqualifying offenses.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  noted that  the statute under  which the                                                               
DMV  submits the  applicant's information  is AS  12.62.160.   He                                                               
asked if that information is sent to the Alaska State Troopers.                                                                 
MS.  ERICKSON  confirmed that  the  information  is sent  to  the                                                               
Department of Public Safety.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  offered his  understanding that  much of                                                               
the  information that  the  [federal]  criminal background  check                                                               
would cover  may also be covered  in a more expedited  way by the                                                               
Alaska State  Troopers.  He added  that there are some  gaps, but                                                               
there is a lot of overlap.                                                                                                      
VICE CHAIR  KELLER said  that is  a question  that would  be left                                                               
unsatisfactorily  answered   in  order   to  move   the  proposed                                                               
legislation.   He indicated  that he  was comfortable  with that,                                                               
because  there has  been  "no  indication of  a  problem in  this                                                               
8:27:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES asked  Ms. Erickson to outline  how the DMV                                                               
would handle the electronic method proposed under CSSB 206(STA).                                                                
MS.  ERICKSON  answered that  the  DMV  envisions that  customers                                                               
would be  able to  opt in [to  electronic communication],  and if                                                               
they do not,  the division would continue to send  notices out by                                                               
mail.   She  said  under statute,  everyone  must update  his/her                                                               
address when it changes, and it  is a good question as to whether                                                               
the DMV should  have the same requirement for  those using e-mail                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES  said  she  thinks  an  update  on  e-mail                                                               
addresses may  be more  important sometimes than  an update  on a                                                               
physical address.                                                                                                               
8:28:40 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  KELLER noted that  Chair Lynn had joined  the meeting                                                               
and had  indicated to him he  would like him to  continue leading                                                               
the discussion.                                                                                                                 
8:28:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS said from  a customer standpoint, she would                                                               
like to access all her vehicle information on line.                                                                             
8:29:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   ISAACSON  commended   the  department   for  the                                                               
offerings it has already put in  place on line, and he emphasized                                                               
how much time is saved by doing business with the DMV on line.                                                                  
8:30:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ERICKSON said the DMV is  excited, because it has "borrowed a                                                               
web master" from DOA to "spruce up  our web site and make it even                                                               
easier for customers."                                                                                                          
8:30:44 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony.                                                                                      
8:31:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTIS opined  that CSSB  206(STA) is  a clean-up                                                               
bill that  should have been  passed years ago, and  she expressed                                                               
appreciation for "where DMV is going with this."                                                                                
8:31:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTIS  moved  to  report CSSB  206(STA)  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSSB  206(STA)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     
8:31:58 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:32 a.m. to 8:36 a.m.                                                                       
             HB 356-ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON WELLNESS                                                                          
8:35:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  next order of business  was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO. 356,  "An Act  establishing the  Advisory Committee  on                                                               
Wellness;  and  relating to  the  administration  of state  group                                                               
health insurance policies."                                                                                                     
8:36:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL  SEATON, Alaska  State Legislature,  as prime                                                               
sponsor, presented HB  356.  He stated that HB  356 would require                                                               
the  commissioner of  the Department  of Administration  (DOA) to                                                               
implement procedures  for decreasing the incidence  of disease in                                                               
Alaska in  order to hold the  inflation of healthcare costs.   He                                                               
said the  proposed legislation focuses  on the prevention  of the                                                               
incidence of disease as opposed to  the treatment of disease.  It                                                               
would create  an Advisory Committee  on Wellness, which  would be                                                               
charged   with  making   recommendations  to   the  commissioner.                                                               
Representative  Seaton  relayed  that  HB  356  would  enforce  a                                                               
paradigm  shift for  DOA, and  it would  require the  agencies to                                                               
implement policies  in Alaska to  keep State of  Alaska employees                                                               
and their independents healthy by preventing disease.                                                                           
8:37:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON offered  a PowerPoint  presentation, which                                                               
he explained would  outline a possible plan that  would come from                                                               
the  [Advisory Committee  on  Wellness] to  aid  in lowering  the                                                               
amount of money paid out by  the State of Alaska for health care.                                                               
He referred to a graph at  the beginning of the PowerPoint, which                                                               
shows  the   $3.8  billion  unfunded  liability   in  the  Public                                                               
Employees  Retirement  System   (PERS)  and  Teachers  Retirement                                                               
System  (TRS) directly  related to  the increase  of health  care                                                               
cost beyond what was originally  estimated in 2002.  The original                                                               
estimation was  for a long-term  escalation in health  care costs                                                               
of 2 percent, but now the  escalation is between 4 and 6 percent.                                                               
He showed the  "Why are we here?" slide, which  states that there                                                               
are approximately  17,000 members,  including dependents,  in the                                                               
active  plan, and  approximately  64,000 members  in the  retiree                                                               
plan,  with a  total  cost  to the  state  of approximately  $600                                                               
million [spent in fiscal year 2013  (FY 13)].  He noted that $1.6                                                               
million was [Medicaid]  related expenditure [in FY 13].   He said                                                               
these expenses are part of a contractual relationship.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   directed  attention  to  the   "What  Do                                                               
Alaska's  Health-Care  Dollars  Buy?"  slide,  which  shows  that                                                               
[31.5]  percent of  those  dollars  go to  hospital  care and  28                                                               
percent to doctors  and clinical services.  He  said finding ways                                                               
to avoid  visits to hospitals,  doctors' offices, and  clinics by                                                               
means  of  disease  prevention  would address  the  crux  of  the                                                               
problem.  Referring to information  on the next slide, he relayed                                                               
that   currently  insurance   focuses  on   constraints  to   the                                                               
healthcare  providers,  including  limitations  on  coverage  and                                                               
limitations on compensation  to doctors.  He  said the Department                                                               
of  Labor  established  rules to  prevent  accidents  by  setting                                                               
limitations on the  length of a working day  and requirements for                                                               
safe working  conditions.  Representative Seaton  stated that the                                                               
Department  of  Health  and Social  Services  (DHSS)  focuses  on                                                               
childhood  vaccination, as  well as  voluntary lifestyle  changes                                                               
and prescription  drug safety.   The Department  of Environmental                                                               
Conservation  (DEC)  [and  the Department  of  Natural  Resources                                                               
(DNR)]  address  food  safety  requirements,  such  as  paralytic                                                               
shellfish   poisoning  (PSP)   testing,   requirements  for   the                                                               
pasteurization  of  milk,  and   restaurant  and  food  processor                                                               
inspections.   The Department  of Public  Safety (DPS),  he said,                                                               
enforces  laws  addressing illegal  drugs  and  smoking in  close                                                               
public places.                                                                                                                  
8:40:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON turned  to  "The Question"  slide, and  he                                                               
indicated  that the  question to  ask  is how  to avoid  diseases                                                               
instead  of just  paying  for sick  care.   He  said the  ensuing                                                               
slides show ideas  for what can be done in  "one little category"                                                               
and what the  economic impact of that would be.   The first slide                                                               
he highlighted  shows a  list of [health]  issues of  active care                                                               
members,  and  [x's] at  the  far  right  indicate which  of  the                                                               
conditions could  be prevented by  taking vitamin  D supplements.                                                               
He said vitamin  D deficiency is prevalent in Alaska.   He showed                                                               
the next  slide, which is the  same chart for retirees.   He said                                                               
66 percent  of the total  diseases in  the active work  force are                                                               
directly  related to  vitamin  D status,  while  that number  for                                                               
retirees is 61 percent.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  directed  attention to  the  next  slide,                                                               
showing  "Meta-analysis of  breast  cancer risk."   He  explained                                                               
that the graph is set up in  quintiles.  It shows that those with                                                               
higher risk for  breast cancer are those with  lower serum levels                                                               
of vitamin D.   He said the average vitamin D  level for the U.S.                                                               
population  is  21  anagrams  per  milliliter  (ng/ml),  but  the                                                               
average for Alaskans  is generally much lower,  because vitamin D                                                               
is  made through  exposure to  sunshine on  the skin,  and during                                                               
Alaska winters, the angle  of the sun is so low,  that all of the                                                               
ultraviolet B  is absorbed coming  through the atmosphere.   That                                                               
means that for  seven months of the year in  Alaska, a person can                                                               
be out in the sun and not make  any vitamin D.  He explained that                                                               
the  graph shows  that  with  a 50  percent  reduction in  breast                                                               
cancer  [through  use  of  vitamin   D]  by  active  and  retired                                                               
employees and their  dependents, the state could  save $3 million                                                               
a year.                                                                                                                         
8:43:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   directed  attention  to   another  meta-                                                               
analysis graph showing  the relation of vitamin  D and colorectal                                                               
cancer.  He  stated that breast cancer and  colorectal cancer are                                                               
two big  cost drivers  in Alaska.   The  graph shows  a projected                                                               
reduction  in incidence  with 34  ng/ml.   He said  currently the                                                               
state  has no  policy  to  encourage people  to  [take vitamin  D                                                               
supplements] to  lower the percentage who  get colorectal cancer,                                                               
but  doing  so could  save  the  state approximately  $2  million                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   directed  attention  to   another  slide                                                               
showing results of  a clinical trial related to  type 2 diabetes.                                                               
He said the slide shows that  the average U.S. population has 8.5                                                               
people  per 1,000  annually who  will  be diagnosed  with type  2                                                               
diabetes.   During  the clinical  trial, 2,200  people got  their                                                               
vitamin D  levels up to  48 ng/ml, and  the number of  people per                                                               
1,000 diagnosed annually  with type 2 diabetes  dropped to [0.9].                                                               
He  indicated  that  the  cost to  an  individual  to  supplement                                                               
vitamin D is  about $10 a year.  Representative  Seaton said this                                                               
kind of action could save  the state approximately $4.3 million a                                                               
8:45:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON turned  next to a slide  showing results of                                                               
vitamin  D supplementation  on pre-term  childbirth,  which is  a                                                               
focus of  the March of Dimes.   He explained that  pre-term birth                                                               
not only has negative effects on  health, but is also costly.  He                                                               
related that the March of Dimes  has been conducting a program in                                                               
South Carolina,  wherein by  raising the levels  of vitamin  D in                                                               
participants,  the number  of pre-term  births was  reduced to  7                                                               
percent -  2 percent  below the  national goal  for the  March of                                                               
Dimes  for  the  year  2020.   He  said,  "That's  a  32  percent                                                               
reduction  in the  number of  pre-term births,  and for  every 25                                                               
pre-terms births avoided, that saves about $1.3 million."                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  directed  attention to  a  slide  showing                                                               
results  from  a Canadian  study  on  the  effects of  vitamin  D                                                               
supplementation  on   the  frequency   of  occurrence   of  upper                                                               
respiratory tract  infections in children.   He indicated  that a                                                               
comparison  was made  between those  children who  were given  30                                                               
ng/ml and those  that were given 20 ng/ml, and  he said, "There's                                                               
a  70 percent  reduction in  upper respiratory  tract infections,                                                               
[such]  as tuberculosis,  pneumonia,  bronchitis, influenza,  and                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON highlighted information  on the next slide,                                                               
which  showed   the  effect  of  vitamin   D  supplementation  on                                                               
inflammatory gum  disease.  He said  the study came out  of India                                                               
in 2013.   It shows that with  a placebo, there was  no change in                                                               
90 days;  with 2,000 IU of  vitamin D, people's vitamin  D levels                                                               
were  raised to  about 50  ng/ml, and  there was  a reduction  in                                                               
inflammation  of  more than  80  percent.    He stated  that  gum                                                               
disease not only results in tooth  loss, but when the body is not                                                               
able to fight inflammation, the result  can be a hardening of the                                                               
arteries.   He said that  is why gum  disease is also  related to                                                               
heart disease.                                                                                                                  
8:48:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON indicated  that  the proposed  legislation                                                               
has  one main  purpose,  outlined  in Section  2,  which read  as                                                               
     *Sec.2.  AS 39.30.090(a)  is amended  by  adding a  new                                                                  
     paragraph to read:                                                                                                         
                    (13) To the greatest extent legally and                                                                     
     reasonably     practicable,    the     Department    of                                                                    
     Administration  shall work  to hold  the escalation  of                                                                    
     health care costs to less  than two percent annually by                                                                    
     administering  policies   of  group   health  insurance                                                                    
     obtained  under this  subsection  in a  manner that  is                                                                    
     likely  to  reduce  the incidence  of  disease  in  the                                                                    
     state's population and  that facilitates implementation                                                                    
     of  the recommendations  of the  Advisory Committee  on                                                                    
     Wellness established under AS 39.30.093.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said his goal  in presenting HB 356  is to                                                               
illustrate an example of what the  state could be doing.  He said                                                               
he presumes  the Committee  on Wellness would  look at  this data                                                               
and determine  whether the  State of Alaska  could hold  down the                                                               
incidence  of disease  and  save money.   He  said  the State  of                                                               
Alaska is self-insured; therefore, "every  dollar that we save is                                                               
a savings to the State of Alaska."  He continued as follows:                                                                    
     The bill that  establishes this has a  minimum of seven                                                                    
     members.    The  Department of  Administration  selects                                                                    
     those  members.   When they  had  a voluntary  advisory                                                                    
     committee, which they do now,  previously what they did                                                                    
     was  they had  over 90  people to  apply to  be on  it.                                                                    
     This is  a non-paid position.   But people,  members of                                                                    
     our employment workforce, do want  to save health care,                                                                    
     do want to  save the issues of health and  the pain and                                                                    
     suffering that comes to families.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said  HB 356 uses the model  of the citizen                                                               
advisory committee used in relation  to Alaska's Child in Need of                                                               
Aid  (CINA);  the department  would  have  to answer  within  six                                                               
months if and how it would  be implementing certain programs.  He                                                               
said the  proposed legislation  would give "more  of a  push" and                                                               
"more  authority"   for  the  recommendations  of   the  Advisory                                                               
Committee on  Wellness to be  heard.  It  is all within  DOA, and                                                               
there  are  three  positions.     Members  could  participate  in                                                               
meetings telephonically, so travel would not be required.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  opined that  attempting to move  the state                                                               
forward in  holding down the  escalation of [health  care] costs,                                                               
thereby removing  some of the  state's unfunded liability  in the                                                               
retirement  system is  a good  goal.   He said  some things  that                                                               
could cut  down on  health care  costs, such as  losing 30  or 40                                                               
pounds,  are difficult  to  do; however,  other  things that  the                                                               
Advisory Committee on Wellness could  consider are much easier to                                                               
[Vice Chair Keller handed the gavel back to Chair Lynn.]                                                                        
8:51:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER commended  Representative Seaton's focus on                                                               
prevention  and wellness.   He  explained that  he had  a problem                                                               
with the  intent language, beginning  on page 1, line  9, through                                                               
page 2, line 1.  He said  he would to like to delete [paragraphs]                                                               
(2), (3), and (4), which read as follows:                                                                                       
               (2) the state has not adequately focused                                                                         
     state policy  on avoiding disease and  maintaining good                                                                    
     health in the state's population;                                                                                          
               (3) the state relies on federal one-size-                                                                        
     fits-all human health  policy recommendations, creating                                                                    
     federal  overreach into  the state's  administration of                                                                    
     health policy;                                                                                                             
               (4) the state's human health policies have                                                                       
     not incorporated peer-reviewed  scientific studies that                                                                    
     illustrate   health-related  differences   between  the                                                                    
     population of  the state and  the populations  of other                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER, regarding paragraph  (2), said that may be                                                               
true, but  opined that it would  be better to say  that the state                                                               
should  focus more,  because the  state  has focused  on a  state                                                               
policy  on   avoiding  disease   and  maintaining   good  health.                                                               
Regarding [paragraph]  (3), he suggested saying  instead that the                                                               
state relies  "in part"  on federal  policy recommendations.   As                                                               
written,   he    said   the   language   sounds    like   federal                                                               
recommendations are  the only thing  on which the  state's policy                                                               
is based, which  he said he does not believe  is true.  Regarding                                                               
[paragraph] (4), he said he  would argue that the state certainly                                                               
has incorporated peer-reviewed studies,  at least to some degree.                                                               
He said  he knows this, because  he has reviewed the  studies and                                                               
has been involved  in the process of making  recommendations.  He                                                               
stated that he does not think  it would take away from the intent                                                               
of HB 356  to delete paragraphs (2), (3), and  (4), in Section 1.                                                               
He said he  supports the proposed legislation, but  would like to                                                               
hear what the prime sponsor  thinks about his recommendations for                                                               
8:56:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  recommended instead to  leave paragraphs                                                               
(2)-(4) in  the proposed legislation,  but to amend  the language                                                               
to reflect that:   state policy should focus  on avoiding disease                                                               
and  maintaining health,  the  state relies  in  part on  federal                                                               
recommendations,  and the  state's human  health policies  should                                                               
always  incorporate peer-reviewed  studies.    He emphasized  his                                                               
support of  peer reviewed  studies that  are made  transparent to                                                               
the public and  are opened for public comment.   He clarified, "I                                                               
wouldn't take those out; I would just make them affirmative."                                                                   
8:57:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  responded that he had  considered that and                                                               
would be open to it.                                                                                                            
8:57:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   said  he   fully  agrees.     He  echoed                                                               
Representative  Isaacson's  suggestion by  recommending  "should"                                                               
replace "has not adequately", on line 9.                                                                                        
CHAIR  LYNN  suggested changing  the  language  to "should  focus                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  suggested the language could  read "should                                                               
focus state policy more on  avoiding disease and maintaining good                                                               
health".   He  said he  thinks the  intent of  paragraph (4)  was                                                               
being  misread, possibly  because the  language in  paragraph (4)                                                               
begins on  one page and ends  on the next:   "differences between                                                               
the  population  of  the  state  and  the  populations  of  other                                                               
states".   He said  he did  not intend for  the language  to mean                                                               
that  "we"  have  not  looked   at  peer-reviewed  science.    He                                                               
suggested switching the order of  the words to emphasize that the                                                               
studies  that have  not been  incorporated in  the state's  human                                                               
health policies are those comparing states.                                                                                     
8:59:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked the prime  sponsor what he thought of                                                               
Representative  Isaacson's suggestion  to strike  "have not"  and                                                               
replace it with "should".                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said that would be fine.                                                                                  
8:59:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER said  he would like the words  "in part" to                                                               
follow "relies",  on page 1,  line 11,  because one-size-fits-all                                                               
recommendations  from the  federal  government are  not the  only                                                               
thing on which the state relies.                                                                                                
8:59:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved to adopt Conceptual  Amendment 1, as                                                               
     Page 1, line 9, between "the state" and "state":                                                                           
          Delete "has not adequately focused"                                                                                   
          Insert "should focus"                                                                                                 
     Page 1, line 9, between "policy" and "on":                                                                                 
          Insert "more"                                                                                                         
     Page 1, line 11, between "relies" and "on":                                                                                
          Insert "in part"                                                                                                      
    Page    1,   line    13,    between   "policies"    and                                                                     
          Delete "have not"                                                                                                     
          Insert "should"                                                                                                       
9:01:38 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 9:02 a.m.                                                                                 
9:02:25 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER [moved to  adopt an amendment to Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1], so that the language  on page 1, line 9, would read                                                               
as  follows:   "the state  policy should  focus more  on avoiding                                                               
disease  and".   [There  being  no  objection, the  amendment  to                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1 was treated as adopted.]                                                                                 
9:03:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that there  being no  objection, Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1, [as amended], was adopted.                                                                                         
9:03:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON imparted  that he had begun  a regimen of                                                               
taking  vitamin D,  and has  seen  improvement in  a former  pre-                                                               
diabetes  diagnosis;  he  expressed  his hope  that  the  use  of                                                               
vitamin would further  improve his test results.   He said, "This                                                               
is not  a vitamin D  commission, this is a  wellness commission."                                                               
He  acknowledged that  the prime  sponsor  had shown  one way  to                                                               
improve  the health  of Alaskans  through the  use of  vitamin D;                                                               
many  more  methods  exist,  including  exercising,  cutting  out                                                               
certain  substances, and  moderating  smoking and  drinking.   He                                                               
asked Representative  Seaton if  his intent  was to  instigate an                                                               
Advisory Committee  on Wellness, in  order to bring  the national                                                               
discussion on wellness to the administration.                                                                                   
9:04:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON confirmed that was  his intent exactly.  He                                                               
clarified that the  proposed legislation would not  take over the                                                               
Health Care Commission,  which is a broad,  statewide entity that                                                               
considers  the entire  population of  the state.   The  committee                                                               
proposed under  HB 356 would  focus on individuals with  whom the                                                               
State of Alaska  has a contractual relationship as  a provider of                                                               
health insurance.   He said the  result could be not  only a cost                                                               
savings to the  state, but also a relief from  pain and suffering                                                               
by many.   He  reiterated that  the vitamin D  aspect was  one of                                                               
many the Advisory Committee on Wellness might consider.                                                                         
9:06:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  said a  positive approach  is a  good one,                                                               
and  he  does  not  know  anyone who  is  against  vitamin  D  or                                                               
9:06:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER moved to report  HB 356, as amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHB  356(STA)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     
9:07:32 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:07 a.m. to 9:08 a.m.                                                                       
9:08:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                  SJR 26-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE                                                                               
9:08:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced that the  final order of business was SENATE                                                               
JOINT RESOLUTION NO.  26, Recognizing June 14, 2014,  as the 60th                                                               
anniversary of the  first recital of the United  States Pledge of                                                               
Allegiance with the words "under God."                                                                                          
9:08:51 AM                                                                                                                    
RYNNIEVA  MOSS,   Staff,  Senator  John  Coghill,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  SJR 26  on  behalf  of Senator  Coghill,                                                               
prime sponsor.  She said earlier  in 2014, 30 other states passed                                                               
resolutions  that   recognized  February   10  as   the  sixtieth                                                               
anniversary of  the introduction  of House Joint  Resolution 243,                                                               
which added  the words "under  God" to the Pledge  of Allegiance.                                                               
Under  SJR 26,  Alaska  would  recognize June  14,  2014, as  the                                                               
sixtieth  anniversary  of the  first  recital  of the  Pledge  of                                                               
Allegiance.   She noted that  June 14 is  Flag Day in  the United                                                               
MS.  MOSS relayed  that  the original  Pledge  of Allegiance  was                                                               
written in  1892 by  Francis Bellamy, a  minister, whom  she said                                                               
"used the pledge as a symbol  to all nations to pledge allegiance                                                               
to their flags  as individual countries."  She said  by 1923, the                                                               
U.S. had been  through World War I, and "they  wanted to make the                                                               
pledge more near  and dear to Americans," so  the American Legion                                                               
and the  Daughters of the  American Revolution had the  Pledge of                                                               
Allegiance changed to include "one nation."                                                                                     
MS.  MOSS stated  that in  1954, President  Dwight D.  Eisenhower                                                               
attended  a church  where he  heard Reverend  George M.  Docherty                                                               
give  a  sermon  about  the pledge,  during  which  the  reverend                                                               
pointed to Lincoln's  repeated use of the phrase  "under God," in                                                               
the  Gettysburg   Address.    She  said   Reverend  Docherty  was                                                               
"pressing to see  what was missing in this country  during a time                                                               
when  ...  8  million  people   had  already  been  killed  under                                                               
Communism."   She  referred to  the penultimate  sentence of  the                                                               
sermon, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                  
          In this land, there is "neither Jew nor Greek,                                                                        
     neither bond  nor free, neither  male nor  female", for                                                                  
     we are one nation indivisible  under God, and humbly as                                                                  
     God has given us the  light we seek liberty and justice                                                                    
     for all.                                                                                                                   
MS. MOSS  said the sermon  inspired President Eisenhower  to meet                                                               
with  Senator Homer  S. Ferguson  and  Representative Charles  G.                                                               
Oakman,  who  introduced resolutions  to  the  Senate and  House,                                                               
respectively,  proposing to  add  "under God"  to  the Pledge  of                                                               
9:12:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MOSS indicated  that the history of the  Pledge of Allegiance                                                               
does not  give "the  human touch  to reciting  the pledge."   She                                                               
continued as follows:                                                                                                           
     Recognizing the  history of the pledge  reminds us that                                                                    
     it has a  deep, independent meaning for  each and every                                                                    
     one  of us.   It's  not a  mundane verse  that we  have                                                                    
     memorized  because  we've  recited   it  every  day  in                                                                    
     school.  It  reminds us that we live in  a country that                                                                    
     doesn't persecute  us, because  we pledged  to preserve                                                                    
     the  God-given,   inherent  rights  this   country  was                                                                    
     founded in.  It reminds us  that we are a government of                                                                    
     50  individual states  who are  united as  a nation  of                                                                    
     free people.  It reminds  us that this flag, Old Glory,                                                                    
     has [been] carried through  battlefields, and blood has                                                                    
     been shed  by millions to  protect the freedom  that we                                                                    
     have to speak  our minds and disagree  with each other,                                                                    
     without the threat of retaliation.   It reminds us that                                                                    
     people from all  over the world come to  our country at                                                                    
     a risk to live the American dream.                                                                                         
     When I stand in the  gallery at the Senate Chambers and                                                                    
     recite the  Pledge of Allegiance,  with a room  full of                                                                    
     citizens  and the  Senators, what  I hear  is group  of                                                                    
     Americans, united,  ... indivisible in  preserving this                                                                    
     Republic  and  the  God-given  rights  our  Forefathers                                                                    
     strived  to  preserve.   This  resolution  is  yet  one                                                                    
     reminder that  we are Americans  united as  one nation,                                                                    
     under God.                                                                                                                 
MS. MOSS  said the  words, "under  God," were  added on  June 14,                                                               
1954, during  the Cold War,  as a  way to distinguish  the United                                                               
States from communism.  On  that day, President Eisenhower signed                                                               
the change  into law  and declared, "From  this day  forward, the                                                               
millions of  our school  children will  daily proclaim,  in every                                                               
city  and  town,  every  village  and  rural  school  house,  the                                                               
dedication of  our nation  and our  people to  the Almighty.   To                                                               
anyone who truly  loves America, nothing could  be more inspiring                                                               
than  to  contemplate this  rededication  of  our youth  on  each                                                               
school morning to our country's true meaning."                                                                                  
MS. MOSS  imparted that as a  teenager in the 1960s,  she heard a                                                               
comment made by  comedian Red Skelton, regarding  the addition of                                                               
the words "under  God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.   [The words,                                                               
as follows, are from the  committee handout, original punctuation                                                               
     Since I was a small boy,  two states have been added to                                                                    
     our  country  and two  words  have  been added  to  the                                                                    
     Pledge of  Allegiance; "under God".   Wouldn't it  be a                                                                    
     pity  if  someone   said  that  is  a   prayer  and  be                                                                    
     eliminated from school.                                                                                                    
MS. MOSS  said currently  there is a  court case  challenging the                                                               
use of  "under God"  as a  prayer.  She  said the  court decision                                                               
will be  made "any  day."   She said  the proposed  resolution is                                                               
being used by states all  across the country "to preserve history                                                               
so that courts can't change history."                                                                                           
9:15:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  stated  that  the   Pledge  of  Allegiance  and  the                                                               
invocation [given  on the  House floor]  are the  most comforting                                                               
parts of his day.  He talked  about being reminded of "why we are                                                               
here."  He opined, "The whole  process is all messed up, but it's                                                               
the best  in the  world; the  best we'll ever  have."   He stated                                                               
support  for SJR  26.   He  mention the  former  way of  pledging                                                               
allegiance by  holding one hand  up and forward, followed  by the                                                               
current method  of holding the  hand over the heart  [depicted in                                                               
the committee packet].                                                                                                          
9:17:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON expressed  thanks for  the booklet  that                                                               
includes  all the  information of  the committee  packet, and  he                                                               
questioned whether it could be  made available to those who would                                                               
like a  copy.   He indicated  that some of  the history  might be                                                               
found  on  line  under  procon.org.    He  mentioned  the  recent                                                               
lawsuits  against   including  "under  God"  in   the  Pledge  of                                                               
Allegiance.  He  said he appreciated remarks  by President Ronald                                                               
Reagan  encouraging every  Native born  United States  citizen to                                                               
attend an immigration  ceremony or speak to  those immigrants who                                                               
have become  a citizen  by choice, because  doing so  would renew                                                               
the country's  desire to  preserve peace  for another  200 years.                                                               
Representative  Isaacson  said  he  has had  the  opportunity  to                                                               
witness the moment when people  have abandoned one citizenship to                                                               
become a citizen of the U.S.  He  said doing so may seem crazy to                                                               
most, but some  are seeking a better  life and see the  U.S. as a                                                               
better place.   He said it has helped him  question why he should                                                               
ever  become complacent  about his  own citizenship.   He  opined                                                               
that  the   proposed  legislation   helps  people   remember  the                                                               
importance of the Pledge of  Allegiance as a means of remembering                                                               
those who have given their lives to protect the U.S.                                                                            
9:20:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN acknowledged Representative  Isaacson's statement.  He                                                               
said his  second child married  a woman  from China, and  it took                                                               
her  five years  to  get  her citizenship,  and  he  said he  was                                                               
honored  to be  present  at her  citizenship  ceremony, which  he                                                               
described as "uplifting."                                                                                                       
9:21:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  said yesterday  he gave the  invocation on                                                               
the  House floor.   He  expressed  his appreciation  to the  bill                                                               
sponsor for bringing SJR 26 forward.   He stated that the concept                                                               
of "under  God" goes back  to the  country's beginning.   He said                                                               
the Declaration  of Independence  refers to people  being created                                                               
equal,  a  creator endowing  us  with  individual rights,  and  a                                                               
supreme  judge  of  the  world.   He  said  the  signers  of  the                                                               
Declaration of Independence were  at risk for becoming criminals,                                                               
but firmly  relied on  divine providence.   He explained  that he                                                               
wanted the  record to reflect that  reference to God was  part of                                                               
the foundation of the U.S. and "is consistent throughout."                                                                      
9:22:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  directed attention to  a "whereas" clause on  page 2,                                                               
lines 15-16, which read as follows:                                                                                             
          WHEREAS it is the policy of the legislature to                                                                      
     recognize  and honor  important  dates that  strengthen                                                                    
     the  ties  of history  and  bind  us to  our  Christian                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN said  he would  like  to see  "Christian" changed  to                                                               
"Judeo-Christian",  because  the  Bible  is split  into  the  Old                                                               
Testament,  which is  Jewish,  and the  New  Testament, which  is                                                               
Christian.   He asked if the  prime sponsor would object  to that                                                               
9:23:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MOSS offered  her understanding that the  prime sponsor would                                                               
strongly  oppose such  an amendment,  because  he feels  strongly                                                               
that   the  United   States  was   established  under   Christian                                                               
principles and, thus, the language should reflect that.                                                                         
CHAIR LYNN asked for comments from the committee.                                                                               
9:24:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  stated that  he would  like to  "honor the                                                               
perspective of the sponsor."                                                                                                    
9:24:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON said  he  appreciates  the comment  from                                                               
Chair Lynn about including Judaism.  He continued as follows:                                                                   
     Definitely,  the heritage  of  Christianity flows  from                                                                    
     the ...  similar belief of  the one true  God, almighty                                                                    
     God, creator  of heaven and  earth, which  was affirmed                                                                    
     in Jewish tradition.  But  it was even before the Jews,                                                                    
     Adam had  that personal relationship, so  you could say                                                                    
     it's  a  biblical  faith,   of  which  Christianity  is                                                                    
     definitely the proud banner carrier of that ... faith.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  opined that  honoring the wishes  of the                                                               
prime  sponsor would  still incorporate  the  rich heritage  that                                                               
Chair Lynn mentioned.                                                                                                           
9:25:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  said, "To me,  Judeo-Christian encompasses                                                               
Christian, as well."  She asked  if there had been a conversation                                                               
with the prime sponsor, in which  he had specifically said he did                                                               
not want to use the term.                                                                                                       
MS.  MOSS answered  that there  had been  several discussions  to                                                               
broadening the language,  even to include Muslim.   She said, "He                                                               
feels  very strongly  that ...  he doesn't  want this  to be  the                                                               
slippery slope; he wants it to be a Christian heritage."                                                                        
9:26:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  stated  that  the  government,  with  its                                                               
checks  and balances  reflects the  Christian heritage  more than                                                               
Judaism.  He referred to a  famous painting of the signers of the                                                               
Declaration of Independence, and said,  "No doubt, it was a group                                                               
of  Christian  folks  that  were  there."   He  stated  that  the                                                               
influence of  Christianity on the government  system is "profound                                                               
and  deep."   He  reiterated  that he  concurs  with keeping  the                                                               
language in the proposed joint resolution as is.                                                                                
9:27:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  responded, "Of  course, we're  not talking  about the                                                               
people who landed here; we're talking about the heritage."                                                                      
9:27:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS  stated that  while she can  appreciate the                                                               
conversation, her concern is that  "we'll get into something that                                                               
is not what the bill sponsor  really wanted to celebrate in these                                                               
60 years."                                                                                                                      
9:28:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  restated  his  preference for  the  use  of  "Judeo-                                                               
Christian," but acknowledged that  he was outnumbered; therefore,                                                               
he said would not offer an amendment.                                                                                           
MS. MOSS  said she would  pass that  information on to  the prime                                                               
9:28:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved to  report SJR  26 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection,  SJR 26 was reported out of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
9:29:30 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State Affairs  Standing Committee  meeting was adjourned  at 9:29                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 SJR 26 Resolution.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
SJR 26
02 SJR 26 - Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
SJR 26
03 SJR 26 - Supporting Document.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
SJR 26
04 SJR 26 - Fiscal Note.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
SJR 26
01 HB0356A.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 356
02 HB356 sponsor statement.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 356
03 HB356 Background Materials.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 356
04 HB356 Mayo Clinic vitamin D for health a global perspective.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 356
05 HB356 Cost Savings per year with vitamin D.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 356
06 HB356 Support KPBSD.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 356
07 HB356-DOA-DRB-03-14-14.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 356
01 SB 206 STA CS Version C.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
SB 206
02 SB 206 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
SB 206
03 CS SB 206 Sectional.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
SB 206
04 CS SB 206 explanation of amendments.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
SB 206
05 Fiscal Note CSSB206.pdf HSTA 4/15/2014 8:00:00 AM
SB 206