Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/04/1994 09:05 AM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                 
                         March 4, 1994                                         
                           9:05 a.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Loren Leman, Chair                                                    
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Mike Miller, Vice Chair                                               
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 46                                                
 Requesting the United States Congress to provide a waiver for                 
 nontaxable diesel fuel sold in Alaska from the requirement that it            
 contain a blue dye additive.                                                  
 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 17                                           
 Honoring Alaskan and Palmer resident Tommy Moe for winning a gold             
 medal at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.                
 SENATE BILL NO. 216                                                           
 "An Act relating to the sale, display, or distribution of material            
 harmful to minors at places where minors are allowed to be present            
 and where minors are allowed to view such material."                          
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SJR 46 - No previous senate committee action.                                 
 SCR 17 - No previous senate committee action.                                 
 SB 216 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/11/94 and 2/16/94.                 
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 Fred Dyson, Commissioner Designee                                             
 State Commission for Human Rights                                             
 Eagle River, AK 99577¶694-3744                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:  testified on behalf of his confirmation                 
 Julie Benson, Commissioner Designee                                           
 Alaska Public Offices Commission                                              
 P.O. Box 75296, Fairbanks, AK 99707¶479-7655                                  
  POSITION STATEMENT:  testified on behalf of her confirmation                 
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 94-13, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN calls the Senate State Affairs Committee to order at           
 9:05 a.m.                                                                     
 The chairman asks Mr. Dyson to join the committee at the table to             
 testify at his confirmation hearing for the State Commission on               
 Human Rights.                                                                 
 Number 024                                                                    
 FRED DYSON, Commissioner Designee, State Commission for Human                 
 Rights states he is from Eagle River.  Mr. Dyson says he was born             
 in Canada and came to the United States as an immigrant.  He moved            
 to Alaska in 1964 and has been in the state continuously since that           
 time.  Mr. Dyson has worked as an engineer in the oil industry and            
 has been a commercial fisherman since 1976.  During the winter he             
 makes part of his living doing technical writing and engineering.             
 MR. DYSON has been involved in community affairs for about fifteen            
 years, starting with community councils.  Human rights issues have            
 always intrigued Mr. Dyson; despite being a supposedly                        
 unimaginative engineer, he has frequently found himself involved in           
 people's problems.                                                            
 MR. DYSON states he and his wife raised three children of their own           
 and have had about fifteen foster children.  Most of the foster               
 children were short term, some were long term.  Almost all of the             
 foster children came from very dysfunctional homes, several were in           
 the criminal justice system, and three-fourths of the foster                  
 children had been sexually abused.  Mr. Dyson states if he has a              
 hot button, it's abuse of children, which he sees as a significant            
 problem in our culture.                                                       
 MR. DYSON says that like most people in the majority in our                   
 culture, he had little idea of discrimination as he was growing up.           
 As an adult, he began to realize that a lot of people have suffered           
 a great deal of discrimination, which infuriates him.  In college,            
 Mr. Dyson worked in construction as a pile buck.  There was a black           
 man named John German who virtually carried Mr. Dyson on his back,            
 showed Mr. Dyson how to do things, and when Mr. Dyson couldn't                
 carry his load, Mr. German went out of his way to help Mr. Dyson.             
 Mr. Dyson tells of the discrimination he witnessed against Mr.                
 German.  Mr. Dyson recalls the outrage he felt at witnessing this             
 discrimination against a man he admired so much.                              
 Number 090                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Dyson what he thinks the most significant             
 human rights issues are in Alaska today.                                      
 Number 101                                                                    
 MR. DYSON states some key issues that he sees relate to sexual                
 harassment and discrimination and racial discrimination.  Mr. Dyson           
 thinks there are problems with people's awareness of what's                   
 acceptable.  The primary problem Mr. Dyson sees arising is the                
 conflict of rights, when the rights of one person or group conflict           
 with the rights of another person or group.  Even if there is not             
 bigotry or prejudice involved in a particular case of                         
 discrimination, there are practical aspects that must be dealt                
 MR. DYSON states another area of human rights that he is concerned            
 with, but in which he does not have much knowledge, is the area of            
 aboriginal law and native rights.  In this state there are a number           
 of organizations which are chartered on a racial basis.  What                 
 happens when those organizations run up against EEO (Equal                    
 Employment Opportunity) and the bill of rights.  Reasonable                   
 accommodations have got to be made to deal with those problems.               
 Number 156                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if the foster children Mr. Dyson and his wife             
 cared for were of races other than caucasian.                                 
 MR. DYSON says he did have fosterhildldren whose race was not                 
 caucasian.  He also says the fishing fleet of which he is a part is           
 made up of a large number of Alaska Natives.  He has also worked in           
 a number of villages doing engineering work.  He does not claim to            
 be an expert on minorities, but thinks he is sensitive to the                 
 issues involving minorities.                                                  
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there are questions of Mr. Dyson.                      
 Number 166                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR says he would just like to thank Mr. Dyson very much           
 for being willing to serve on the commission and put in the time              
 and the effort such service takes.                                            
 MR. DYSON replies he feels the same way about people who serve in             
 the legislature.  People who think it is an honor and a privilege             
 to serve in a legislative body have not been there.  Mr. Dyson says           
 when friends of his who have served in elected office thank him for           
 helping them or making a contribution, Mr. Dyson tells them they              
 have it wrong and he should be thanking them for serving.                     
 MR. DYSON informs the committee that the composition of the State             
 Commission on Human Rights is one female Latino, two male Alaska              
 Natives, one female caucasian, and one female Japanese-American; so           
 he is the only old, white, male on the commission, and the only               
 homely, old person of the group.                                              
 Number 207                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Mr. Dyson for his testimony and calls Ms.               
 Benson to testify.                                                            
 Number 215                                                                    
 JULIE BENSON, Commissioner Designee, Alaska Public Offices                    
 Commission (APOC), testifying from Fairbanks says she was born in             
 Oregon, raised in Washington, and came to Alaska in 1989 after 18             
 years in California.  Ms. Benson states she has 14 years of                   
 clerical experience, has worked in a goldmine, as a bartender, and            
 as a homemaker.  She is serving and wants to continue to serve on             
 the APOC in order to give something back to the community.  Ms.               
 Benson says she did several months of volunteer work on the "Alaska           
 or Bust" exhibit at the University of Alaska.                                 
 MS. BENSON says when a position on the APOC came open, she                    
 immediately applied.  She feels it is very important to support the           
 public's right to know what goes on in government.  She tries to do           
 her best to do that.  Ms. Benson states she enjoys her work on the            
 commission and does her best to be non-partisan in it.  She                   
 believes approaching the work in a non-partisan manner is the best            
 way to approach it.  She says she is not an articulate person, but            
 believes she can think things through fairly.                                 
 Number 266                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Benson for serving on the APOC and for              
 her testimony.  The chairman asks Ms. Benson if she can think of              
 any changes that should be made to the commission and how it                  
 MS. BENSON responds she cannot think of any at this time.                     
 Number 276                                                                    
 the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to release SJR 46 from the State                
 Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                            
 Number 287                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders SJR 46 released from             
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 Number 288                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SCR 17 (HONORING TOMMY MOE) as the next              
 order of business before the committee.                                       
 SENATOR DUNCAN makes a motion to release SCR 17 from the State                
 Affairs Committee with individual recommendations                             
 Number 293                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders SCR 17 released from             
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 Number 290                                                                    
 NEAR MINOR) as the next order of business before the committee.               
 The chairman announces SB 216 will be held in committee to work               
 with the sponsor on a committee substitute.                                   
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN adjourns the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting            
 at 9:25 a.m.                                                                  

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