Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

03/27/2021 01:00 PM House STATE AFFAIRS

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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 27, 2021                                                                                         
                           1:07 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Chair                                                                                   
Representative Matt Claman, Vice Chair (via teleconference)                                                                     
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
Representative James Kaufman                                                                                                    
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Sara Hannan (via teleconference)                                                                                 
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 5                                                                                         
"An Act relating  to sexual abuse of a minor;  relating to sexual                                                               
assault; relating  to the code  of military justice;  relating to                                                               
consent; relating  to the testing  of sexual  assault examination                                                               
kits; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                     
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 55                                                                                                               
"An Act relating  to participation of certain  peace officers and                                                               
firefighters  in the  defined  benefit  and defined  contribution                                                               
plans  of  the Public  Employees'  Retirement  System of  Alaska;                                                               
relating to  eligibility of peace  officers and  firefighters for                                                               
medical, disability,  and death  benefits; relating  to liability                                                               
of  the  Public  Employees'  Retirement  System  of  Alaska;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB  5                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: SEXUAL ASSAULT; DEF. OF "CONSENT"                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
02/18/21       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/8/21                                                                                
02/18/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/21       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/26/21       (H)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED                                                                          
03/26/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/26/21       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/27/21       (H)       STA AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
BILL: HB  55                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PEACE OFFICER/FIREFIGHTER RETIRE BENEFITS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOSEPHSON                                                                                         
02/18/21       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/15/21                                                                               
02/18/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/21       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
03/13/21       (H)       STA AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/13/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/13/21       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/27/21       (H)       STA AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 5 as the prime sponsor and                                                                 
provided a PowerPoint presentation, titled "House Bill 5:                                                                       
Defining Sexual Consent," dated 3/27/21.                                                                                        
LISA ELLANNA                                                                                                                    
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony in support of HB
DARLENE TRIGG                                                                                                                   
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony in support of HB
KEELY OLSON, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Standing Together Against Rape Alaska                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited  testimony pertaining to HB
TAYLOR WINSTON, Executive Director                                                                                              
Alaska Office of Victims' Rights                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited  testimony in support of HB
BRIAN HOSKEN, Student Services Director                                                                                         
Alaska School Activities Association                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited  testimony pertaining to HB
REPRESENTATIVE ANDY JOSEPHSON                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided  a review  of HB  55 as  the prime                                                             
PAUL MIRANDA, President                                                                                                         
Alaska Professional Fire Fighters Association                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided a PowerPoint  presentation, titled                                                             
"Costs of Maintaining the Status Quo."                                                                                          
TOM WESCOTT                                                                                                                     
Alaska Professional Fire Fighters Association                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to HB 55.                                                                  
ELISE SORUM-BIRK, Staff                                                                                                         
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to HB 55.                                                                  
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:07:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  JONATHAN KREISS-TOMKINS  called  the  House State  Affairs                                                             
Standing   Committee    meeting   to    order   at    1:07   p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Story, Tarr,  Claman  (via teleconference),  and                                                               
Kreiss-Tomkins   were    present   at   the   call    to   order.                                                               
Representatives * arrived  as the meeting was in  progress.  Also                                                               
present was Representative Hannan (via teleconference).                                                                         
            HB  5-SEXUAL ASSAULT; DEF. OF "CONSENT"                                                                         
1:09:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that the first  order of business                                                               
would  be  SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE  FOR  HOUSE  BILL  NO. 5,  "An  Act                                                               
relating to sexual abuse of  a minor; relating to sexual assault;                                                               
relating to  the code of  military justice; relating  to consent;                                                               
relating to the  testing of sexual assault  examination kits; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
1:09:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN  TARR,   Alaska  State  Legislature,  prime                                                               
sponsor, introduced  HB 5 with a  PowerPoint presentation, titled                                                               
"House  Bill  5:  Defining  Sexual   Consent"  [included  in  the                                                               
committee packet].   She began on  slide 2, titled "How  was HB 5                                                               
drafted?"   She  explained  that  the issue  was  brought to  her                                                               
attention   by  Standing   Together  Against   Rape  (STAR),   an                                                               
organization  that  knew firsthand  how  the  law has  failed  to                                                               
achieve  justice for  Alaskans  who had  been  raped or  sexually                                                               
assaulted.   She  noted that  the law  in question  has not  been                                                               
updated in  forty years.   The  legislation before  the committee                                                               
today  is  the  culmination  of   a  two-year  process  involving                                                               
statewide  meetings   with  input  from  across   Alaska,  expert                                                               
interviews, and feedback from the  Department of Law (DOL), which                                                               
is  reflected  in  the  sponsor substitute  (SS)  changes.    She                                                               
discussed  her  presentation at  the  statewide  meeting for  the                                                               
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence  and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA),                                                               
highlighting the  significance of receiving their  feedback.  She                                                               
continued  to slide  3  and emphasized  the  importance of  doing                                                               
"more  listening  than   talking."    She  said   she  wanted  to                                                               
understand what's  happening in  Alaskan communities;  how people                                                               
are  feeling  safe or  unsafe;  and  how  this law  impacts  that                                                               
1:13:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  turned to slides  4 and 5,  which questioned                                                               
"Has consent  ever been  [an] issue  for you?"   She  stated that                                                               
every individual at all the  forums she hosted or participated in                                                               
were  asked that  question and  all, without  exception, answered                                                               
yes.  She moved to slide  6 and addressed consent, noting that it                                                               
is  not defined  in  Alaska statute.    Instead, AS  11.41.470(8)                                                               
defines "Without consent" as follows:                                                                                           
     (8) "without consent" means that a person                                                                                  
     (A) with  or without resisting,  is coerced by  the use                                                                    
     of  force  against a  person  or  property, or  by  the                                                                    
     express or  implied threat of death,  imminent physical                                                                    
     injury, or kidnapping to be inflicted on anyone; or                                                                        
     (B)  is incapacitated  as a  result  of an  act of  the                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR relayed that  this explanation is problematic                                                               
for  several   reasons:  firstly,   it  is  not   an  affirmative                                                               
definition; secondly,  it suggests a  use of force;  and thirdly,                                                               
it places  the burden on the  victim.  She continued  to slides 7                                                               
and 8 and reviewed Minnesota  and Montana's statutory definitions                                                               
of consent,  both of which  make reference to the  phrases: words                                                               
or  overt   actions,  freely  given   arrangement/agreement,  and                                                               
current/prior   social  or   sexual   relationship.     Slide   9                                                               
highlighted   themes  in   modernized   statutes,  including   an                                                               
affirmative definition that contains  the following words: freely                                                               
given, agreement,  reversible, and words/actions.   She turned to                                                               
slide  10 and  presented the  new  definition proposed  in HB  5,                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
     "Consent"  means a  freely given,  reversible agreement                                                                    
     specific to  the conduct at  issue; in  this paragraph,                                                                    
     "freely given" means agreement to  cooperate in the act                                                                    
     was positively expressed by words or action.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  noted that the definition  of "freely given"                                                               
is one  difference in  the sponsor  substitute from  the original                                                               
version of the bill at the recommendation of DOL.                                                                               
1:17:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  directed attention to  slides 11 and  12 and                                                               
provided  a  sectional  analysis  of  the  bill,  which  read  as                                                               
     Sections 1 and 2: Rape by Fraud                                                                                            
     Sections  3 and  4:  Predatory behavior  by much  older                                                                    
     adults engaging in  sexual relationships with teenagers                                                                    
     at least ten years younger                                                                                                 
      Section 5: Addressing circumstances in which consent                                                                      
     can be given                                                                                                               
     Section 6: New definition of consent                                                                                       
     Sections 7 and 8: Updates the definition of consent                                                                        
        Section 9 refers to the updated Military Code of                                                                        
      Section 10: Requires rape kits be tested within six                                                                       
     Section 11: Repeals the old definitions                                                                                    
     Section 12: Law applies to crimes committed after the                                                                      
     effective date                                                                                                             
       Section 13: Effective date for rape kit testing is                                                                       
     July 1, 2023                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  explained that  Sections 1 and  2 add  a new                                                               
crime, "rape  by fraud,"  into statute.   Rape by  fraud suggests                                                               
that a person commits sexual  assault by pretending to be someone                                                               
else.   Sections  3  and 4  amend  the sexual  abuse  of a  minor                                                               
statute.    She  noted  that   currently,  Alaska  law  does  not                                                               
differentiate between a  16-year-old and someone who is  22 or 30                                                               
years of  age.   Section 5 addresses  the circumstances  in which                                                               
consent  can  be  given.    She  pointed  out  that  the  sponsor                                                               
substitute includes changes from  the previous version, such that                                                               
"rape by  fraud" language is  removed and  "professional purpose"                                                               
is defined  on page 5, lines  8-15, to Section 5,  paragraph (2),                                                               
for  clarity  at the  recommendation  of  DOL.   She  noted  that                                                               
Section 5,  paragraph (3), addresses  freezing - a  common trauma                                                               
response.   Sections 7, 8, and  9 are conforming language,  as it                                                               
relates  to the  consent definition.    She read  the summary  of                                                               
Sections 10-13 and  noted that Section 13  accommodates more time                                                               
for   the  effective   date   for  rape   kit   testing  at   the                                                               
recommendation of the crime lab.                                                                                                
1:24:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  continued  to  slide 13  and  outlined  the                                                               
desired  outcomes:  firstly,  to  remove  dangerous  people  from                                                               
Alaska's  communities  to  prevent   them  from  harming  others;                                                               
secondly, to educate Alaskans about  consent to prevent harm from                                                               
happening.  She turned to slide 14  and conveyed that HB 5 is the                                                               
solution.   She detailed  a February 10,  2020 KNOM  article that                                                               
explored "[changing]  the law to  make prosecution for  rape more                                                               
possible."   The article referenced  the law  under consideration                                                               
in today's meeting and read:                                                                                                    
     Some  said an  outdated  statute  dealing with  consent                                                                    
     ensures  most  sexual  assault cases  won't  result  in                                                                    
     convictions.   Advocates  and survivors  say it's  time                                                                    
     for some of those laws to change.                                                                                          
1:25:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  moved to  slide 16  and concluded  by posing                                                               
the following questions:                                                                                                        
     What  is   the  appropriate  criminal   justice  system                                                                    
     response  based on  the human  suffering caused  to the                                                                    
     How  much of  a danger  does  this person  pose to  the                                                                    
     community and how long should  they be removed from the                                                                    
     community so they can no longer cause harm?                                                                                
     How much do we want  to invest to improve public safety                                                                    
     and reduce sexual assault in Alaska?                                                                                       
1:26:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened invited testimony.                                                                                  
1:26:38 PM                                                                                                                    
LISA ELLANNA, a  survivor herself, informed the  committee of her                                                               
experience as an  advocate for survivors of sexual  assault.  She                                                               
recalled that when survivors gathered  to provide support for one                                                               
another,  it  became   clear  that  none  of   their  cases  were                                                               
investigated  by   the  local  police  department.     The  group                                                               
proceeded to  insert themselves in  positions on  commissions and                                                               
boards  to spark  the conversation  around  improving the  police                                                               
department's investigation  and training efforts.   She explained                                                               
that over  the course  of several  years, they  encountered heavy                                                               
resistance  from the  police department.   The  group decided  to                                                               
take a different  approach and bring the issue to  a public forum                                                               
before the city council, which  prompted a cascade of events: 460                                                               
cases of  sexual assault were  revealed, which had  been reported                                                               
to  the police  department over  the course  of decades  and went                                                               
uninvestigated; the chief of police  left the force; and the city                                                               
manager  resigned.   She added  that they  also began  to take  a                                                               
community  approach to  the issue  and in  the process,  realized                                                               
that Alaska's consent laws are  inadequate.  She pointed out that                                                               
over 90 percent  of reported cases did not lead  to a conviction.                                                               
She acknowledged  that the  issue is  a difficult  one.   When an                                                               
individual  tells someone  that  he/she was  a  victim of  sexual                                                               
assault it is  often reported to law enforcement, which  - if the                                                               
system is  responsive - inserts  the victim into a  legal process                                                               
that  is retraumatizing.    She explained  that  there are  fears                                                               
associated with  reporting [sexual assault]  and a lot  of weight                                                               
is placed  on the  victim's decision, so  rates of  reporting are                                                               
most likely low.  In closing,  she stated that this bill needs to                                                               
pass.   She  said it  provides context  for police  to understand                                                               
consent  and investigate,  as well  as a  mechanism for  district                                                               
attorneys to provide tools to hold perpetrators accountable.                                                                    
1:31:10 PM                                                                                                                    
DARLENE  TRIGG informed  the committee  that she  is a  community                                                               
advocate [for  sexual assault] in  Nome.  She  contextualized the                                                               
importance of this  legislation by explaining what  it's like for                                                               
women to live in a state that's  not safe for them.  She conveyed                                                               
that  victims had  lost faith  in the  police force  and criminal                                                               
justice  system, adding  that many  victims  were assaulted  more                                                               
than once, which  leads to victims saying, "why  tell police when                                                               
they're not going  to do anything anyway."  As  a result, in Nome                                                               
in  particular, the  current state  of  affairs is  so poor  that                                                               
victims  are often  hospitalized for  suicide attempts  and other                                                               
self-destructive coping  mechanisms.   She said  she acknowledges                                                               
that living  with the  current laws creates  a culture  of safety                                                               
for perpetrators.   She shared her belief that women  do not know                                                               
what it  is to  be safe  because they  need to  put up  walls and                                                               
always be aware, which holds  them back from being productive and                                                               
safe community members.                                                                                                         
1:33:59 PM                                                                                                                    
KEELY OLSON,  Executive Director, Standing Together  Against Rape                                                               
(STAR) Alaska,  stated that  in 2018,  STAR's board  of directors                                                               
formed a  policy committee to  help educate and  inform lawmakers                                                               
about  existing   challenges  in  the  sexual   assault  statutes                                                               
informed by the lived experiences  of survivors.  One such policy                                                               
priority  included updating  the state's  definition of  consent.                                                               
Given that  Alaska has the highest  rates of rape in  the nation,                                                               
she  said,  it  seems  logical to  provide  law  enforcement  and                                                               
prosecutors with more  tools to effectively prosecute  rape.  She                                                               
explained  that  the  state's   current  definition  of  "without                                                               
consent" places the  burden on the victim to prove  that force or                                                               
threats  were used;  further, it  requires the  state to  try and                                                               
prove the victim  was incapacitated to the point  of being unable                                                               
to consent.   She pointed  out that in  practice, this is  a very                                                               
high  burden that  leads  jurors  to expect  the  victim to  have                                                               
sustained significant and visible injury,  which is often not the                                                               
case.  A growing understanding  of trauma response indicates that                                                               
a  victim often  freezes rather  than fighting  or fleeing.   She                                                               
noted  that the  statute does  not  account for  a victim  crying                                                               
throughout  the  assault and  not  fighting  back.   She  relayed                                                               
STAR's additional  policy priorities, including urging  the state                                                               
to do  more to protect  minors - ages 16  and 17 -  from targeted                                                               
victimization.   She reported  that under  questioning, offenders                                                               
often  tell  the  police  that   "16-year-olds  are  fair  game,"                                                               
suggesting  that  they  are  legal,  and  maintaining  that  [the                                                               
victim]  consented,  which places  the  burden  of proof  on  law                                                               
enforcement.   These cases often involve  the offender proffering                                                               
teens with alcohol  and drugs to render them  incapable of escape                                                               
and less likely  to report for fear of not  being believed or, in                                                               
some cases,  being charged with  underaged drinking when  they do                                                               
report.  She  said STAR receives numerous calls  on its statewide                                                               
sexual assault crisis line from  parents seeking support and ways                                                               
to  help their  teens who  were manipulated  into a  relationship                                                               
with a  much older adult.   In such cases, the  parents are often                                                               
powerless to order the adult to  stay away from their child.  She                                                               
pointed out  that impressionable youth  are often led  to believe                                                               
by  a predatory  adult that  they are  mature and  special, which                                                               
drives  a  wedge between  them  and  their  family support.    In                                                               
Alaska,  the  state  only protects  teens  from  adult  predatory                                                               
behavior  if the  adult holds  a position  of authority  over the                                                               
child.   She shared  her belief  that the  state should  be doing                                                               
more  to protect  its youth  particularly during  formative years                                                               
rather than treating them as grown adults.                                                                                      
MS.  OLSON  detailed  several  cases that  involved  the  use  of                                                               
trickery or fraud  to gain sexual gratification  by the offender.                                                               
She remarked:                                                                                                                   
     In one case, a woman  awoke to her husband spooning her                                                                    
     from behind in bed.   As was standard in their intimate                                                                    
     relationship, she  reached into the bedside  drawer for                                                                    
     a condom,  which she provided  to her husband  over her                                                                    
     shoulder  without  glancing  back.    They  engaged  in                                                                    
     sexual relations.  At some  point during the encounter,                                                                    
     to her horror, she realized the  man in her bed was not                                                                    
     her husband  at all.   In fact, it  turns out he  was a                                                                    
     homeless  man  who  snuck into  her  house  through  an                                                                    
     unlocked  door after  her husband  left for  work early                                                                    
     and  climbed into  her bed.    It's not  known and  was                                                                    
     never  substantiated  that  he had  been  stalking  and                                                                    
     watching her  for some time.   As soon as  she realized                                                                    
     this man  was a stranger  she jumped up and  called the                                                                    
     police.   The suspect  fled but was  later apprehended.                                                                    
     Since  he did  not  use  force, he  could  not be  held                                                                    
     accountable  for rape.   I  believe  he was  ultimately                                                                    
     prosecuted for illegal entry to her home.                                                                                  
     Another  case involved  a young  woman living  with her                                                                    
     fianc?  and his  family.    Their room  was  in a  dark                                                                    
     basement.   She was  in bed one  night when  her fianc?                                                                    
     entered.   She  called  out his  name  and he  answered                                                                    
     affirmatively.     They   began   engaging  in   sexual                                                                    
     relations.   At  some  point during  the activity,  she                                                                    
     came to  realize this  was not,  in fact,  her partner,                                                                    
     but  rather his  brother  pretending to  be  him.   She                                                                    
     screamed, he fled, and she  reported to law enforcement                                                                    
     with the  support of  her fianc?.   Although  the state                                                                    
     attempted prosecution, the offender  was acquitted by a                                                                    
     jury because  the state could  not show force  was used                                                                    
     in this case.                                                                                                              
MS. OLSON noted that these are  just several cases in which fraud                                                               
was used  to induce  consent.   She added  that the  frequency of                                                               
such  cases is  unknown  because  most do  not  result  in a  sex                                                               
offense charge, so they remain invisible.                                                                                       
1:40:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  thanked  Ms.  Ellanna and  Ms.  Trigg  for                                                               
sharing  their experiences  and  expressed  her appreciation  for                                                               
women's advocacy.                                                                                                               
1:40:53 PM                                                                                                                    
TAYLOR  WINSTON, Executive  Director, Alaska  Office of  Victims'                                                               
Rights (OVR),  informed the committee  that she is  testifying in                                                               
support  of HB  5 as  both the  executive director  of OVR  and a                                                               
former state prosecutor of sexual  offences.  She highlighted her                                                               
thirteen years of experience as  a state prosecutor, six of which                                                               
were spent supervising  the sexual offense unit  in the Anchorage                                                               
District Attorney's  office.  She  noted that as  the supervisor,                                                               
she screened virtually  every sexual offense case  that came into                                                               
the  Anchorage office  during those  six years.   She  shared her                                                               
belief  that  amending  the statutes,  particularly  SA1  [Sexual                                                               
Assault in the  First Degree], SA2 [Sexual Assault  in the Second                                                               
Degree],  SAM1 [Sexual  Abuse of  a Minor  in the  First Degree],                                                               
SAM2 [Sexual  Abuse of  a Minor  in the  Second Degree],  and the                                                               
definition  of "consent,"  is important  and long  overdue.   She                                                               
recalled seeing  "quite a  few" cases  in which  these amendments                                                               
were needed in  her role as a prosecutor.   She said the comments                                                               
from  previous testifiers  are  encapsulated  in her  experience,                                                               
adding that  this legislation  would help  close a  loophole with                                                               
regard to  SA1 and  SA2 in  Sections 1 and  2 of  the bill.   She                                                               
agreed  with Ms.  Olson  that  it is  difficult  to quantify  the                                                               
number of  victims that would  receive justice from  this change,                                                               
in part, because  if sexual assault is reported, it  might not go                                                               
further than  the level of  investigation since the  statute does                                                               
not  allow it.   She  explained that  closing the  loophole would                                                               
allow those  who had been  victimized to have justice  where they                                                               
were previously  denied; additionally, it would  potentially keep                                                               
others from becoming victims.                                                                                                   
MS.  WINSTON recounted  her experience  prosecuting  a case  that                                                               
involved  fraud.   She  said  upon  being  handed the  case,  she                                                               
immediately questioned her supervisor  about the statutes, saying                                                               
"[the victim] appears to consent  to the sexual activity, but not                                                               
consenting to the  person who was doing the  sexual activity with                                                               
her."   Her supervisor reassured  her, she prepared the  case and                                                               
took  it to  trial.   She  remembered that  the  victim, who  was                                                               
asleep at the  time of the assault and thought  the defendant was                                                               
her  fianc?,  shared  compelling  testimony;  however,  the  jury                                                               
ultimately acquitted  the defendant, providing no  justice to the                                                               
victim for  being violated.   She pointed  out that the  case was                                                               
tried on  the victim's  unawareness of the  sexual assault.   The                                                               
issue of consent, or lack  thereof, was also argued.  Ultimately,                                                               
she said  it was a sad  case for the  victim and the system  as a                                                               
whole, adding that the loophole should  be in the law, which this                                                               
bill hopes to cure.                                                                                                             
MS. WINSTON  addressed Sexual Abuse of  a Minor in the  First and                                                               
Second Degree.   She related that the law covers  16 and 17-year-                                                               
olds if  the perpetrator is in  a position of authority  but does                                                               
nothing for  them if the perpetrator  is not in such  a position.                                                               
She stated  "yes, we can talk  about the age of  consent, but the                                                               
people  who engage  in sex  with children  who are  more than  10                                                               
years older than  them are predators."  She added  that these are                                                               
not people  who are looking  to form a healthy  relationship from                                                               
normal  interactions,  rather,  they  are  people  who  seek  out                                                               
children and  groom them at  a vulnerable age.   Furthermore, she                                                               
relayed  that when  the abuse  from  this older  person comes  to                                                               
light,  it has  devastating emotional  effects, such  as suicide,                                                               
cutting, drug and alcohol abuse,  and other destructive behavior.                                                               
It can also create a wedge  between the child and his/her family.                                                               
She recalled a  number of cases that relied on  the discretion of                                                               
the judge to deem whether  the situation was aggravated and might                                                               
warrant  a   higher  sentence;  however,   there  was   often  no                                                               
reflection of  aggravation through the statutory  aggravators, so                                                               
there was no  justice for the victim.  She  stressed the "intense                                                               
ripple effect"  that occurs throughout  the victim's  life, which                                                               
is forever changed.   She said it has an  immense cost to society                                                               
on  health and  human services,  work productivity,  and criminal                                                               
behavior.   She went  on to  point out  that the  current [sexual                                                               
assault] laws  predate the invention  of the internet,  which has                                                               
allowed offenders an  easier way to pray  on vulnerable children.                                                               
In  closing,  she  reiterated  that   the  consent  sections  are                                                               
important  because  they would  provide  clarity  for jurors  and                                                               
lessen the burden on victims.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  expressed  appreciation for  the  proposed                                                               
solutions  and  questioned  how   affirmative  consent  laws  had                                                               
impacted  other  states  that adopted  them  in  stopping  sexual                                                               
assault and predatory behavior.                                                                                                 
1:52:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR said  there has  been a  national review  of                                                               
consent laws; however, most of the  work on this issue is recent.                                                               
She indicated that  it's too early to understand  the impact from                                                               
the adoption of new laws in other states.                                                                                       
1:53:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  conveyed  his   support  for  avoiding  a                                                               
victim-focused trial.   He asked whether  the proposed definition                                                               
of  consent would  cause more  focus  on the  victim and  his/her                                                               
history than the current law.                                                                                                   
MS. WINSTON clarified  that the burden would be  shifted from the                                                               
victim to  the offender.   Regarding  the shift  of focus  to the                                                               
victim's past  behavior in  a trial setting,  she cited  the rape                                                               
shield law,  which puts the use  of past behavior as  evidence to                                                               
the discretion  of a judge.   She noted  that if the  behavior is                                                               
recent and  involves the  same person,  it could  be used,  but a                                                               
prosecutor would  evaluate the  surrounding evidence  and related                                                               
components.   She  stated  that cases  "are  apples and  oranges"                                                               
because each  is unique.   Ultimately, she  opined that  [the new                                                               
definition]  would not  cause  a greater  focus  on the  victim's                                                               
previous behavior.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  sought   verification  that  Ms.  Winston                                                               
indicated that  this bill  is unlikely to  change the  focus that                                                               
often  occurs in  sexual  assault cases  in  any significant  way                                                               
compared to current law.                                                                                                        
MS. WINSTON  clarified that she did  not mean to suggest  that it                                                               
won't  change  the focus.    She  explained  that under  the  new                                                               
definition  of consent,  there  would be  less  focus on  certain                                                               
aspects  of  a victim's  behavior  than  currently, because  [the                                                               
behavior]  wouldn't  meet  the   definition  and  could  even  be                                                               
precluded from  argument.  She went  on to state that  in certain                                                               
circumstances, the victim's prior behavior  may be relevant as it                                                               
relates to consent.                                                                                                             
1:59:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN referencing  data  from  DOL, stated  that                                                               
"the  percentage  of declined  sexual  assault  and sexual  abuse                                                               
cases  statewide  was running  roughly  50  percent declined  and                                                               
about 50  percent taken for  prosecution."  He asked  Ms. Winston                                                               
if  during   her  time  actively   prosecuting  in   a  statewide                                                               
supervisory  role,   the  50  percent  declined   case  rate  was                                                               
consistent with her observations.                                                                                               
MS. WINSTON asked Representative  Claman if his question pertains                                                               
to all sex offenses or just the ones related to this bill.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN replied all sex offenses.                                                                                 
MS. WINSTON  noted that without  specific numbers  from 2004-2010                                                               
she  could not  definitely  indicate a  percentage; however,  she                                                               
recalled that the  prosecution took around 65-70  percent and the                                                               
remainder percentage  was declined.   She conveyed that  the rate                                                               
of decline  was higher  in some areas  than others;  for example,                                                               
Sexual Abuse of a Minor cases  were often declined because of the                                                               
nature of the evidence.                                                                                                         
2:01:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked  if the same case  involving fraud and                                                               
the fianc?'s brother was referenced by both invited testifiers.                                                                 
MS. WINSTON  said she had  not spoken  with Ms. Olson  to compare                                                               
notes.  She  acknowledged that the cases  they referenced sounded                                                               
similar.  She  further noted that in her case,  she was unable to                                                               
charge Sexual  Assault in  the First Degree  for lack  of consent                                                               
because there wasn't  a lack of consent that  fit the definition.                                                               
Sexual  Assault  in  the  Second  Degree,  however,  encapsulates                                                               
someone who is asleep or in  an altered state and was therefore a                                                               
better fit.                                                                                                                     
2:04:01 PM                                                                                                                    
BRIAN   HOSKEN,   Student   Services  Director,   Alaska   School                                                               
Activities Association (ASAA), informed  the committee that he is                                                               
a former  Anchorage School District administrator  with nearly 30                                                               
years  of  experience   overseeing  comprehensive  academics  and                                                               
activity/athletic programs.   Currently, his primary  role at the                                                               
Alaska School Activities Association  (ASAA) is to facilitate the                                                               
Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM) program,  which is in year two of a                                                               
five-year  grant.   He  relayed that  CBIM  is an  evidence-based                                                               
comprehensive  violence prevention  program  designed to  inspire                                                               
coaches to  teach their  athletes the  importance of  respect for                                                               
themselves,  others,  and  women  in  particular.    The  program                                                               
incorporates strategies, scenarios, and  resources needed to talk                                                               
with   boys    specifically   about   healthy    and   respectful                                                               
relationships, dating  violence, sexual assault,  and harassment.                                                               
Additionally,  CBIM recognized  that sports  are "[tremendously]"                                                               
influential  on culture  and the  lives of  young people  and was                                                               
designed  to utilize  and  leverage the  social  capital held  by                                                               
athletes.   He opined  that the principles  of teamwork  and fair                                                               
play,  which  are central  to  athletics,  make sports  an  ideal                                                               
platform to teach  healthy relationship skills.   He continued to                                                               
explain that  he trains  coaches to  teach a  curriculum designed                                                               
for a 12-week sports season  in which weekly training lessons are                                                               
presented from the coach to  the athletes.  These weekly teaching                                                               
sessions  include   topics,  such  as   personal  responsibility,                                                               
insulting   language,  disrespectful   language  towards   women,                                                               
digital disrespect, and understanding consent.   He noted that he                                                               
looks forward  to further developing  the definition  of consent,                                                               
adding that  within the CBIM  objective, consent is  discussed in                                                               
regard  to  respecting  personal  boundaries  in  intimate/sexual                                                               
activities;  furthermore,  CBIM  objects  the  use  of  pressure,                                                               
threats,  or  force  in  any physical  or  sexual  encounter  and                                                               
actively  opposes   incidents  of  rape,  sexual   coercion,  and                                                               
assault.   He  offered his  belief that  this bill  would further                                                               
define and help  this particular teaching component.   He went on                                                               
to discuss  the program goals  specifically developed  for Alaska                                                               
by ASAA.   He said that  many of the topics  incorporated by CBIM                                                               
and  HB  5   mutually  validate  the  need   for  a  preventative                                                               
educational component  and accountability  for perpetrators.   He                                                               
opined  that  the  clarification and  affirmative  definition  of                                                               
consent  in  this  legislation would  strengthen  the  scholastic                                                               
elements of CBIM.   To conclude, he said he  looks forward to the                                                               
opportunity  to employ  a  passed  HB 5  in  coordination with  a                                                               
statewide implementation  of CBIM  to further  education Alaska's                                                               
youth with the objective of eradicating violence towards women.                                                                 
2:09:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS questioned where in Alaska CBIM originated.                                                                
MR.  HOSKEN  replied  that  the CBIM  program  was  developed  in                                                               
Sacramento, California and  has since gone nationwide.   He added                                                               
that in Alaska, the program was first implemented in Juneau.                                                                    
2:10:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked  Ms.   Ellanna  how  she  helps  her                                                               
community understand the importance of the change being sought.                                                                 
MS. ELLANA shared her understanding  that most of the individuals                                                               
who experienced assault and who were  part of the effort to bring                                                               
this  concern   forward  had  been  assaulted   while  under  the                                                               
influence of alcohol  or while asleep, in which  case, consent is                                                               
implied or  inferred under  current state law.   She  stated that                                                               
understanding  how  the  current  law  is  written  is  extremely                                                               
frustrating.  She went on to add  that if this bill were to pass,                                                               
the  new definition  of  consent would  provide  context for  the                                                               
police  and their  investigations,  as well  as  a mechanism  for                                                               
district attorneys to hold perpetrators accountable.                                                                            
2:13:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that HB 5 was held over.                                                                         
        HB  55-PEACE OFFICER/FIREFIGHTER RETIRE BENEFITS                                                                    
2:13:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that the final  order of business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 55,  "An Act relating to participation of                                                               
certain peace  officers and firefighters  in the  defined benefit                                                               
and  defined   contribution  plans   of  the   Public  Employees'                                                               
Retirement  System of  Alaska; relating  to eligibility  of peace                                                               
officers  and firefighters  for  medical,  disability, and  death                                                               
benefits;  relating   to  liability  of  the   Public  Employees'                                                               
Retirement  System  of Alaska;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
2:14:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDY JOSEPHSON,  Alaska State  Legislature, prime                                                               
sponsor, briefly reviewed  HB 55 for the committee.   He said the                                                               
bill  would   restore  a  public   safety  PERS   [Alaska  Public                                                               
Employee's Retirement System] defined  benefit plan for the first                                                               
time in 15  years to a segment of Alaska's  workforce - a segment                                                               
that, due to  a lack of pension opportunities in  this state, are                                                               
leaving  Alaska  after "hundreds  of  thousands  and millions  of                                                               
dollars" are  spent by the state  to train them effectively.   He                                                               
added that  in the instances  these workers stay in  Alaska, they                                                               
have inadequate  funds to enjoy  retirement in a  reasonable way.                                                               
He  went  on  to  discuss   the  main  components  of  the  bill,                                                               
explaining that  [public safety] workers would  contribute a base                                                               
of  8  percent as  employee  contribution  to their  own  defined                                                               
benefit, which  could rise to  10 percent  on command of  the ARM                                                               
[Alaska  Retirement Management]  Board.   The total  contribution                                                               
would  be 22  percent from  the employer,  which is  identical to                                                               
Tiers  III and  IV.   He said  the vesting  would be  five years;                                                               
however, the  provisions include a  minimum retirement age  of 55                                                               
with 20  years of service.   Furthermore, to increase  the plan's                                                               
affordability, there  is a "high  five averaging to look  back on                                                               
their salary,"  as well as a  post-retirement pension adjustment,                                                               
which could  be removed if the  funding of the plan  is less than                                                               
90 percent.   He noted that currently, the overall  system is not                                                               
at 90  percent.  He  summarized the saving  mechanisms, including                                                               
the five-year averaging,  the 10 percent base  rate increase, and                                                               
the  absence of  full medical  coverage.   For these  reasons, he                                                               
shared his belief that the bill is urgent.                                                                                      
2:18:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened invited testimony.                                                                                  
2:18:31 PM                                                                                                                    
PAUL  MIRANDA,  President,   Alaska  Professional  Fire  Fighters                                                               
Association  (AKPFFA),   introduced  himself  and   informed  the                                                               
committee that he is currently  an engineer at the Anchorage Fire                                                               
Department.  He introduced his associate, Tom Wescott.                                                                          
2:19:00 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  WESCOTT,  Alaska  Professional  Fire  Fighters  Association,                                                               
introduced himself as the former  president of AKPFFA and said he                                                               
is available to answer questions from the committee.                                                                            
2:19:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MIRANDA  introduced a PowerPoint presentation,  titled "Costs                                                               
of Maintaining the  Status Quo."  He said the  purpose of today's                                                               
presentation  is to  illustrate that  Alaska is  facing a  public                                                               
safety recruitment  and retention crisis.   He directed attention                                                               
to slide  2, explaining  that since Tier  IV became  effective in                                                               
2006,  several   unintended  consequences  became   apparent  for                                                               
Alaska's  public  safety  employees.    He  reported  recruitment                                                               
difficulties  in   Alaska's  public  safety  agencies,   such  as                                                               
Department  of Public  Safety  (DPS),  Department of  Corrections                                                               
(DOC),  and  municipal fire  and  police  departments across  the                                                               
state.   He said Alaska can  no longer compete with  the Lower 48                                                               
when  attempting  to recruit  public  safety  employees.   Police                                                               
officers and  paramedics are  in high  demand across  the country                                                               
and Alaska  is at a  clear disadvantage compared to  other states                                                               
with regard  to retirement and  benefits.  He asserted  that Tier                                                               
IV is  unlike any public  safety retirement plan in  the country,                                                               
and  it is  part of  the reason  Alaskan communities  struggle to                                                               
fill public  safety positions.  He  addressed impactful retention                                                               
costs, which  would be illustrated  in later slides,  adding that                                                               
crucial  dollars  are  being  siphoned  off  while  dealing  with                                                               
separations  and   a  recruitment  process  that   is  made  more                                                               
difficult by the  benefit package.  He stated  that once Alaska's                                                               
agencies  find  an  employee  and  invest  time  and  money  into                                                               
him/her, there  is a  need to  get a  return on  that investment.                                                               
Additionally,  he  anticipated   increased  workers  compensation                                                               
costs as  agencies become  staffed with  an older  workforce that                                                               
lacks the financial security to retire.                                                                                         
2:22:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MIRANDA  turned to slides  3 and 4, which  featured testimony                                                               
from  police and  fire chiefs  that highlighted  the difficulties                                                               
surrounding  recruitment  and  retention.    He  added  that  the                                                               
state's own actuary  assumes increased retention with HB  55.  He                                                               
addressed  workers compensation  costs  on slide  5, noting  that                                                               
individuals under  the Tier  IV plan have  not yet  retired after                                                               
working a  full 20/25-year  career in  public safety  because the                                                               
plan is  only 15 years  old.  He recalled  a slide from  the bill                                                               
sponsor's   presentation   on   3/13/21   that   detailed   three                                                               
independent  reviews of  Tier  IV, all  indicating  that most  of                                                               
Alaska's public safety  employees would mot have  enough money to                                                               
retire, even after  a 30-year career.   Additionally, many public                                                               
safety  employees do  not  participate in  Social  Security.   He                                                               
reported that  the average hiring  age of a public  safety worker                                                               
is  31;  therefore, as  agencies  become  staffed with  an  older                                                               
workforce that  lacks the financial  security to  retire, workers                                                               
compensation costs  are likely  to increase  due to  the physical                                                               
nature of  the job  and the likelihood  that older  public safety                                                               
employees get injured at much higher  rates.  According to a Rand                                                               
Corporation study on  California firefighters, older firefighters                                                               
are particularly  prone to musculoskeletal disorders  (MSDs) with                                                               
an  MSD injury  rate  that  is more  than  double  that of  their                                                               
younger colleagues  and ten times  greater than that  of private-                                                               
sector workers  of the  same age.   In  addition to  the physical                                                               
demand,  he  pointed  out  that individuals  who  are  no  longer                                                               
mentally prepared to do the job  should have the ability to leave                                                               
for their own sake and for the good of the community they serve.                                                                
2:27:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MIRANDA continued  to slide 6 and  outlined unforeseen costs,                                                               
such as increased overtime due  to inadequate staffing; increased                                                               
training  costs;  loss  of   operational  capabilities;  loss  of                                                               
experience  and future  leadership;  and  rise in  organizational                                                               
stress  levels.   He  moved  to slide  7,  which emphasized  that                                                               
recruitment  and retention  problems would  likely increase.   He                                                               
reported  that  current  recruitment and  retention  difficulties                                                               
across Alaska are  occurring with 40-50 percent  of the workforce                                                               
still in  a defined  benefit system; Tier  IV currently  makes up                                                               
50-60  percent of  the public  safety workforce  and the  problem                                                               
would magnify  as that population  grows.   He stated that  a 100                                                               
percent  portable  public  safety   workforce  is  a  frightening                                                               
thought for chief officers around the state.                                                                                    
MR. MIRANDA turned  to slide 8 and reported that  there are 3,400                                                               
public  safety  employees  in  Alaska  that  the  bill  would  be                                                               
applicable to.  He approximated  $120,000 as the average training                                                               
cost, although  some agencies, such  as airport police  and fire,                                                               
report costs as high as $240,000.                                                                                               
2:30:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  inquired about  the component costs  of the                                                               
$120,000 figure.                                                                                                                
MR.   MIRANDA  said   it   includes   things  like   recruitment,                                                               
testing/hiring processes, and training academy.                                                                                 
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS noted  his  curiosity  in a  cost/component                                                               
breakdown.   Nonetheless,  he acknowledged  that  retention is  a                                                               
2:32:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MIRANDA offered  to follow  up  with that  information.   He                                                               
resumed the presentation on slide  9, titled "what is the 'fiscal                                                               
note' for maintaining the status quo?"   He relayed that both DPS                                                               
and  DOC  had  testified  to the  legislature  of  non-retirement                                                               
separations greater  than 6 percent.   He reminded  the committee                                                               
that  this is  occurring  when  Tier IV  makes  up  less than  60                                                               
percent of the overall public  safety workforce.  He proceeded to                                                               
examine the  $120,000 average training  cost - not  increased for                                                               
inflation - and  the costs of losing one, two,  and three percent                                                               
of a Tier  IV workforce each year  on slides 10-12.   The cost of                                                               
losing one  percent of the  workforce, or 34 employees,  would be                                                               
$4,080,000 over  a one-year period, $20,400,000  over a five-year                                                               
period,  and $81,600,000  over a  20-year  period.   The cost  of                                                               
losing two percent,  or 68 employees, would be  $8,160,000 over a                                                               
one-year  period,  $40,800,000  over   a  five-year  period,  and                                                               
$160,200,000 over a  20-year period.  Lastly, the  cost of losing                                                               
three  percent  of the  workforce,  or  102 employees,  would  be                                                               
$12,240,000 over a one-year period,  $61,200,000 over a five-year                                                               
period, and $244,800,000 over a 20-year period.                                                                                 
2:35:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MIRANDA  turned to slide 13/14  and said these costs  are not                                                               
fully representative of the problems  that would result from non-                                                               
retirement separation of public  safety employees.  He emphasized                                                               
that current costs far outweigh the  cost of HB 55, adding that a                                                               
one percent  improvement in retention  would more than  cover the                                                               
cost  of the  bill.   He further  noted that  other jurisdictions                                                               
across the  country have restored  defined benefit  systems after                                                               
facing similar experiences.   He moved to slide  15 and concluded                                                               
by  reiterating that  both  labor and  management  are united  in                                                               
their  support  for  this  legislation.    He  pointed  out  that                                                               
everyone  has  a shared  interest  in  ensuring that  Alaska  has                                                               
quality public  safety employees.   He said adopting  an adequate                                                               
retirement plan with reasonable  costs, fair benefits, and shared                                                               
risk would aid in this mission.                                                                                                 
2:38:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   KREISS-TOMKINS   recalled   that  the   bill   had   been                                                               
painstakingly  crafted  to  be  cost-neutral.   He  asked  for  a                                                               
refresher on the cost, if any, of this legislation.                                                                             
2:39:06 PM                                                                                                                    
ELISE  SORUM-BIRK, Staff,  Representative Andy  Josephson, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  said the Division of  Retirement and Benefits                                                               
had an  actuary report conducted  on the previous version  of the                                                               
bill and  estimated that the  annual cost would be  $3.5 million.                                                               
She  noted that  the cost  would be  less money  paid toward  the                                                               
unfunded  liability.   She expounded  that under  HB 55,  a small                                                               
amount more  would be paid  directly towards the  employee's plan                                                               
compared to  the current plan;  therefore, less would be  paid to                                                               
the  unfunded  liability.   She  added  that the  division  would                                                               
conduct a new  actuarial analysis for the current  version of the                                                               
bill when it moves to the House Finance committee.                                                                              
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS, as a Tier IV  employee, asked if any of his                                                               
compensation went to  the unfunded liability.   He sought further                                                               
clarification on how [the proposed  plan] differentiates from the                                                               
status quo.                                                                                                                     
MS.  SORUM-BIRK   relayed  that  currently,  employers   pay  the                                                               
employee a  certain percentage, which contributes  to retirement.                                                               
She cited an Alaskan  law - SB 125; adopted in  2008 - which sets                                                               
employer contribution rates for PERS  and obligates the ARM Board                                                               
to calculate total annual contributions  required to maintain the                                                               
plan's service liability each year.   She said, for example, that                                                               
the rate  for PERS in Alaska  this fiscal year was  30.85 percent                                                               
and under current  law, the employer contributes  22 percent with                                                               
the state making up the difference if it's not a state employer.                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  interjected to  verify that  Ms. Sorum-Birk                                                               
was speaking in reference to Tier IV.                                                                                           
MS. SORUM-BIRK  answered yes.   She continued  to explain  that a                                                               
municipality pays 22 percent, which  is divided between a portion                                                               
that's paid  to the employee and  a portion that's paid  into the                                                               
retirement  system   going  towards  the  unfunded   liability  -                                                               
partially supplemented by the state.                                                                                            
2:42:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  offered his  understanding that  every Tier                                                               
IV beneficiary has  a "lock box retirement system"  that both the                                                               
public  sector   and  the  employee   contribute  to,   which  is                                                               
completely  removed from  the defined  benefit  part of  previous                                                               
tiers.   He said he  is surprised to  hear that part  of people's                                                               
benefits under Tier  IV go towards paying  the unfunded liability                                                               
for people in Tiers I-III.                                                                                                      
MS.  SORUM-BIRK  noted that  only  what  the employer  pays  goes                                                               
towards the unfunded liability.                                                                                                 
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked if the  contribution that goes towards                                                               
the unfunded liability,  represented by Tiers I-III,  is the $300                                                               
million or so odd dollars that the state pays every year.                                                                       
MS. SORUM-BIRK answered, "in simple  terms, yes."  She added that                                                               
sometimes the state chooses to supplement that.                                                                                 
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  said he is  still unclear on how  the state                                                               
is fulfilling  the obligation of  paying down  unfunded liability                                                               
changes with the introduction of "Tier V."                                                                                      
MS. SORUM-BIRK  replied the easiest  way to  think of it  is that                                                               
currently,  a smaller  percentage  of the  employer's 22  percent                                                               
contribution is going towards the  Tier IV employee than would go                                                               
to the  "Tier V"  employee.   She said  employees under  "Tier V"                                                               
would  receive  12  percent  with 10  percent  going  toward  the                                                               
unfunded liability.                                                                                                             
2:45:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STORY directed the  committee to the state actuary                                                               
report  narrative  [included  in  the  committee  packet],  which                                                               
provided a fiscal  note analysis for the previous  version of the                                                               
bill.   She asked if the  pie graph on page  2 accurately depicts                                                               
the figures being discussed.                                                                                                    
MS. SORUM-BIRK answered yes.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked for confirmation that  MS. Sorum-Birk                                                               
had stated  that the  proposed retirement  plan is  comparable to                                                               
packages offered by other states.                                                                                               
MS.  SORUM-BIRK  acknowledged that  Washington  is  one of  those                                                               
states.  She deferred to Mr. Wescott for further information.                                                                   
2:46:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WESCOTT said  compared to other states, the  proposed plan is                                                               
a  greatly reduced  benefit from  what  Alaska had  in the  past;                                                               
additionally,  it was  modeled  after  the most  well-functioning                                                               
plans in  the country that  are fully funded, such  as Washington                                                               
and Wisconsin.   He explained  that aspects, such as  the ability                                                               
to raise  employee rates  and the  ability to  withhold inflation                                                               
proofing,  allow the  plan to  get back  on track  should it  get                                                               
behind and make the risk shared  opposed to the state holding all                                                               
the risk.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE   JOSEPHSON   shared    his   understanding   that                                                               
Washington's plan  proved so solvent  that the age  of retirement                                                               
was reduced from 55 to 53.  He asked if that is correct.                                                                        
MR. WESTSCOTT confirmed  [that the age of  retirement was lowered                                                               
in Washington].                                                                                                                 
2:49:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STORY questioned whether  the size of the employee                                                               
population  in  Washington impacted  the  ability  to "drop"  the                                                               
MR. WESCOTT  said he  is unsure whether  the population  size had                                                               
any  significance.   He  acknowledged  that  the pool  of  public                                                               
safety employees in Washington's  system is larger than Alaska's.                                                               
He recalled  that historically, Anchorage's police  and fire plan                                                               
was  widely  successful and  ahead  of  its  time with  only  800                                                               
employees.   He explained that  good and bad plans  are separated                                                               
by those that makes consistent,  steady contributions in the good                                                               
times, as well  as the bad.  Ultimately, he  opined that the size                                                               
doesn't matter if sound practices are followed.                                                                                 
2:52:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  inquired about  Alaska engaging in  that in                                                               
the past.                                                                                                                       
MR.  WESCOTT explained  that when  looking  at past  contribution                                                               
rates into PERS, there was a  time in the early 2000s when Alaska                                                               
thought  it   was  better  funded   than  it  was,   so  employer                                                               
contributions fluctuated significantly  lower than today's rates.                                                               
He said  regardless of  being fully funded  or not,  the proposed                                                               
plan  would continue  making minimum  contributions of  8 percent                                                               
for the employee and 12 percent  for the employer.  He added that                                                               
those   who   implemented  Tier   IV   in   2005  recognize   its                                                               
shortcomings,  especially in  regard  to  public safety  careers,                                                               
which are shorter and involve physical and mental stresses.                                                                     
2:55:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR recalled  being  a staff  person during  the                                                               
transition  to  Tier  IV, explaining  that  the  legislature  and                                                               
leadership at that  time implemented $250 million  in budget cuts                                                               
over five years,  which resulted in short  funding the retirement                                                               
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  posited  that  in  effect,  there  was  an                                                               
existing unfunded liability  that needed to be paid  down and the                                                               
state  elected not  to.   Nonetheless,  he pointed  out that  the                                                               
unfunded  liability   existed  because   Tiers  I-III   were  not                                                               
actuarial sound in the first place.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR agreed  that it  was a  combination of  both                                                               
conjoined with  economic downtowns that exacerbated  the problem,                                                               
which  explains why,  under Governor  Sean Parnell,  there was  a                                                               
substantial deposit in an attempt to catch up.                                                                                  
2:56:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  said the actuarial negligence  can't be                                                               
understated  or  overstated.    He  reported  that  according  to                                                               
Legislative Finance Division, the  settlement was $500 million on                                                               
that item  alone.  He offered  his belief that the  proposed plan                                                               
"[hits] the sweet spot."                                                                                                        
CHAIR    KREISS-TOMKINS   sought    clarification   on    whether                                                               
Representative  Josephson had  said the  actuarial negligence  of                                                               
Tiers I-III can or cannot be overstated.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE   JOSEPHSON   clarified    that   [the   actuarial                                                               
negligence] was severe.  He  offered his understanding that there                                                               
was a  lack of vigilance and  advice was taken by  an actuary who                                                               
failed [the state] as evidenced by the settlement.                                                                              
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS said he feels  reassured by what seems to be                                                               
extremely  aggressive  diligence.    He  stated  that  there  was                                                               
unbelievable  intergenerational  injustice between  Tiers  I-III,                                                               
adding  that the  amount of  money  spent by  his generation  and                                                               
those younger  to subsidize  the negligence  of Tiers  I-III each                                                               
year could  pay for pre-kindergarten  and free college  for every                                                               
Alaskan.   He  emphasized  the importance  of  ensuring that  the                                                               
proposed plan  is fully actuarially sound  for future generations                                                               
and reiterated his increasing confidence  that it is [actuarially                                                               
2:59:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON noted that  the legislation mentioned by                                                               
Representative  Tarr  has been  "re-amortized,"  as  it was  $700                                                               
million per  year and  is currently  $350 million  per year.   He                                                               
reported that  the unfunded liability decreased  from $11 billion                                                               
to approximately $6.5 billion.                                                                                                  
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  surmised that the actuarial  negligence and                                                               
incompetence  was  in  addition to  wishful  political  thinking,                                                               
which hurt the state and future generations.                                                                                    
2:59:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY related  that teachers  under the  new tier                                                               
are also  lacking Social Security,  which has  similarly resulted                                                               
in  retention  difficulties across  the  state.   She  questioned                                                               
whether expanding the  proposed plan to all  public employees was                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON said he is  aware and sympathetic to it,                                                               
adding that  a new report from  two months ago indicated  that it                                                               
could be done with some degree  of security.  He pointed out that                                                               
there  are  unique  circumstances  associated  with  the  [public                                                               
safety] cohort in addition to the  huge training cost born by the                                                               
state.   He offered  his belief that  the [public  safety] cohort                                                               
would have  more support and could  lead the way, adding  that if                                                               
solvency is proven  over a short number of  years, an opportunity                                                               
could present itself.                                                                                                           
3:01:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS,  regarding the "Tier V"  plan's HRA [health                                                               
reimbursement  arrangement],  asked  for   the  analysis  on  how                                                               
sustainable three percent  set aside for health is  - relative to                                                               
projections for  cost of health  care, especially  accounting for                                                               
the rapidly escalating projections.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON said  it  is a  major  "give" from  the                                                               
stakeholders   because   they  are   aware   of   its  cost   and                                                               
unpredictability.   He  deferred  to Ms.  Sorum-Birk for  further                                                               
MS.  SORUM-BIRK relayed  that the  HRA  would act  as a  stopgap,                                                               
adding that the new  tier would have the same HRA  as Tier IV and                                                               
could be  used to pay  for medical  expenses or to  pay premiums.                                                               
She explained  that it's based  off a three percent  average PERS                                                               
salary,  which is  significantly  lower than  the average  public                                                               
safety PERS salary.                                                                                                             
3:03:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MIRANDA  confirmed  the comments  from  Ms.  Sorum-Birk  and                                                               
Representative Josephson.   He pointed out that  the explosion in                                                               
health  care costs  was  a contributing  factor  to the  unfunded                                                               
liability of  the previous  tiers.  He  calculated that  based on                                                               
the current  cost of pre-Medicare  coverage, the HRA  would cover                                                               
between 3-5  years of medical premiums.   There would still  be a                                                               
gap for  most individuals, but  the bill recognizes  the unwanted                                                               
possibility of  creating an unfunded  liability, which is  why it                                                               
removes  the  pre-Medicare  medical  coverage  that  was  in  the                                                               
previous  defined benefit  tiers.   He added  that employees  can                                                               
look  for ways  to  bridge  the gap  between  retirement age  and                                                               
eligibility age -  the HRA would help with that,  but it wouldn't                                                               
be a total solution.                                                                                                            
3:06:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that HB 55 was held over.                                                                        
3:07:13 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State Affairs  Standing Committee  meeting was adjourned  at 3:07                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 5 Bill Hearing Request 2.23.2021.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Sponsor Statement 2.23.2021.pdf HJUD 3/4/2022 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/9/2022 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/30/2022 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2022 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Bill Text 1.8.2021.PDF HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Sectional Analysis 2.23.21.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Legal Memo LAA 1.11.2021.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Policy Primer - Alaska's Consent Bill - Spring 2021.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Report Seeking Protection Indian Country 1.30.2021.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Report Rape Kits 12.30.2021.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Report DNA Not Collected 12.31.2020.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Report Without Justice In Nome 2.2021.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Report Disparities in Sexual Assault Crimes in Nome 2.2021.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Letters of Support (All) 3.24.21.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Fiscal Note - JUD-ACS-03.25.2021.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
SS for HB 5 3.26.2021.PDF HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Letter of Support - Planned Parenthood Votes 3.24.21.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Letter of Support - AK Coalition for Justice 3.27.21.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Sponsor PowerPoint 3.27.21.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 5
HB 55 pers-trs combination question 3.27.21.pdf HSTA 3/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 55