Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

01/31/2017 08:00 AM House COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 8 Out of Committee
Moved HB 78 Out of Committee
                  HB 78-INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY                                                                              
8:46:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FANSLER  announced that  the  final  order of  business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  BILL NO.  78,  "An Act  establishing the  second                                                               
Monday of October of each year as Indigenous Peoples Day."                                                                      
8:48:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE, as  prime sponsor, presented HB  78.  He                                                               
stated that HB  78 would establish the second  Monday of October,                                                               
every year,  as Indigenous  People's Day.   He  said this  is the                                                               
same day  on which  Columbus Day  is observed.   He  said, "While                                                               
it's  not  recognized by  the  State  of  Alaska as  an  official                                                               
holiday,  it is  a  federal  holiday."   He  emphasized that  the                                                               
intent of HB 78  is not to "tear down or  destroy Columbus Day in                                                               
any way,  fashion, or form," but  is meant as a  "unification and                                                               
celebration of us as Native peoples."   He stated, "On a day that                                                               
recognizes some of  the first Europeans of the  Americas, we also                                                               
can   be   recognizing  that   we   have   always  lived   here."                                                               
Representative Westlake continued as follows:                                                                                   
     I  don't  think that  anyone  would  argue against  the                                                                    
     significant cultural influence  indigenous peoples have                                                                    
     had, especially  here in  Alaska.   There are  more ...                                                                    
     federally recognized  tribes [in Alaska] than  [in] the                                                                    
     entire Lower 48 combined.  That's us.                                                                                      
     So, HB  78 does  not create  a new  state holiday:   it                                                                    
     creates a day of recognition,  a day of honor.  Placing                                                                    
     it  on the  same  day as  Columbus  Day recognizes  the                                                                    
     intermingling  of  cultures  that make  Alaska  such  a                                                                    
     great  and  vibrant state.    It  honors Alaska's  rich                                                                    
     cultural history.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE concluded that HB  78 would provide a day                                                               
of celebration  of all  the cultures in  Alaska -  especially the                                                               
indigenous   peoples.     He   thanked   committee  members   for                                                               
considering the bill and offered to answer questions.                                                                           
8:50:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked why the  day is being  proposed to                                                               
occur on Columbus Day.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE  answered,  "It's  a day  when  we  were                                                               
supposedly discovered;  we never  knew we were  lost; and  it's a                                                               
great day  - it really is."   He said  it is a time  when Western                                                               
culture and "our  culture" met for the first time,  and he opined                                                               
that "it's  an appropriate day."   He said, "We can  celebrate it                                                               
from either side; it's all  about multiculturalism, getting along                                                               
as people on the same land, and it just seems appropriate."                                                                     
8:51:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FANSLER offered  his understanding  that the  state has                                                               
had  celebrations   of  indigenous   people  before,   and  those                                                               
celebrations also occurred on the second Monday of October.                                                                     
8:51:47 AM                                                                                                                    
ELIZABETH  REXFORD, Staff,  Representative Dean  Westlake, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Westlake, prime                                                               
sponsor  of  HB  78,  confirmed  that for  the  last  two  years,                                                               
Governor Bill  Walker has signed  a proclamation  designating the                                                               
second  Monday  of October  as  Indigenous  People's Day  [on  an                                                               
annual basis].   She indicated Mayor Ethan Burkowitz  of the City                                                               
of Anchorage  had done the same  in Anchorage in 2015.   She said                                                               
there  have been  requests  to  make this  day  of recognition  a                                                               
permanent one for Alaska.                                                                                                       
8:52:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   TALERICO   expressed    appreciation   for   the                                                               
discussions he  has had with  the bill  sponsor.  He  offered his                                                               
understanding  that  contrary  to   some  comments  contained  in                                                               
letters received  in response to  HB 78,  the intent of  the bill                                                               
sponsor  is   not  to   "eliminate  Columbus   Day."     He  said                                                               
Representative Westlake has made it  clear to him that his intent                                                               
is  to  add  to  the   day.    Representative  Talerico  said  he                                                               
appreciates  the bill  sponsor's "multi-culture  approach to  the                                                               
celebration of  that day."   He asked Representative  Westlake to                                                               
8:53:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE   relayed  that  in  his   community  of                                                               
Kotzebue, he  had researched  the phrase  "good morning"  to find                                                               
out how  many languages are spoken  there.  He said  there are 17                                                               
indigenous  languages.   He indicated  that  languages spoken  in                                                               
Kotzebue  include Norwegian  and [Kinyarwanda].   He  opined that                                                               
such diversity above the Arctic  Circle is "wonderful" and "makes                                                               
us all so much better."                                                                                                         
8:54:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FANSLER opened public testimony on HB 78.                                                                              
8:55:15 AM                                                                                                                    
LINDSEY   LAYLAND  testified   in  support   of  HB   78.     She                                                               
characterized  the first  line  of the  second  paragraph of  the                                                               
sponsor  statement [included  in the  committee packet]  as "spot                                                               
on."  It read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                       
     Indigenous  people   are  an   integral  part   of  the                                                                    
     spiritual,   cultural,   linguistic,   scientific   and                                                                    
     historical  fabric  of  the State  of  Alaska  and  the                                                                    
     Americas at large.                                                                                                         
MS. LAYLAND  said she has  seen and heard arguments  against this                                                               
proposed  recognition   by  those  claiming  that   it  would  be                                                               
exclusive  to all  non-indigenous people  - a  claim Ms.  Layland                                                               
said she thinks  is absurd.  She said the  status quo is Columbus                                                               
Day, which celebrates and recognizes  "a single, white male whose                                                               
actions  have  led  to  widespread  genocide"  and  who  was  not                                                               
actually   the  first   European  to   "reach  the   Americas  in                                                               
MS.  LAYLAND said  the  proposed bill  offers  an opportunity  to                                                               
celebrate all the women, men,  and children, who are the original                                                               
inhabitants of Alaska and whose  culture is vital in the founding                                                               
of  the state.   She  opined that  it is  important to  those who                                                               
would oppose  such a  bill to  look across  party lines,  even to                                                               
Alaska's state  leaders at  the federal  level where  Ms. Layland                                                               
offered  her understanding  that Senator  Lisa Murkowski  proudly                                                               
wears  her  kuspuk in  public  and  professional settings.    She                                                               
posited that this is a  nonpartisan issue that "reveals qualities                                                               
of discrimination and racism in those that might oppose it."                                                                    
8:57:30 AM                                                                                                                    
ALANNAH  HURLEY testified  in support  of HB  78.   She indicated                                                               
concurrence with  the statements made by  the previous testifier.                                                               
She relayed that she was "born  and raised Yupik in this region."                                                               
She said  she thinks the  bill is about recognizing  history that                                                               
is not  taught in mainstream  school curriculum.  She  stated her                                                               
belief that there is no way to  move forward and heal some of the                                                               
racial divides in Alaska and  the nation, without recognizing the                                                               
injustices of  the past.   She  said she  thinks that  across the                                                               
nation,  people  are  choosing   to  replace  Columbus  Day  with                                                               
Indigenous  Peoples Day,  because "we're  talking about  somebody                                                               
from an indigenous perspective who  was one of first perpetrators                                                               
of  genocide in  this country  - someone  who's been  compared to                                                               
Hitler."   She  questioned the  message that  children are  being                                                               
taught be celebrating [Columbus Day].  She concluded as follows:                                                                
     This  is  really  a  movement   across  the  nation  to                                                                    
     recognize  real  history  and to  celebrate  the  first                                                                    
     people of this  nation.  And as the state  that has the                                                                    
     most tribes  across the  country, I  think it  would be                                                                    
     amazing  and  make  a great  statement  about  ...  how                                                                    
     Alaska values its indigenous people.                                                                                       
9:00:23 AM                                                                                                                    
JONATHAN WOOD  testified in support of  HB 78.  He  said Alaska's                                                               
population  is  nearly  15 percent  American  Indian  and  Alaska                                                               
Native  - by  far the  highest of  any  state in  the U.S.     He                                                               
stated,  "Just   like  an  intricately  woven   Chilkat  blanket,                                                               
Alaska's  various  indigenous   cultures  are  intricately  woven                                                               
throughout the  history of this  great state and  territory prior                                                               
to our statehood."  He  said unfortunately history is also filled                                                               
with much cruelty and ugliness.   Mr. Wood opined it is important                                                               
to  officially  recognize  and draw  attention  to  the  terrible                                                               
losses suffered by  the Native American people  and their culture                                                               
through disease, warfare, massacre,  and forced assimilation.  He                                                               
stated  that by  designating  a specific  day  to promote  Native                                                               
American culture  and history, [Alaskans] can  celebrate the rich                                                               
traditions and  continue the healing process  for Alaska Natives.                                                               
He opined  that with  the focus on  this healing  element, people                                                               
will become  better global  citizens, with  "an awareness  of the                                                               
continued struggle  and experiences  of other peoples  and groups                                                               
throughout the rest of the world."                                                                                              
9:02:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FANSLER, after  ascertaining that there was  no one else                                                               
who wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 78.                                                                        
9:02:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  noted  that  many  letters  of  support                                                               
reference House Bill  275, which was a bill she  sponsored in the                                                               
Twenty-Ninth Alaska State Legislature  that passed the House, but                                                               
not  the Senate.   She  stated  support of  HB 78.   She  queried                                                               
whether  the  House  Community   and  Regional  Affairs  Standing                                                               
Committee was the only committee of referral.                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR FANSLER offered his understanding that is correct.                                                                     
9:03:50 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:04 a.m. to 9:06 a.m.                                                                       
9:05:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  reiterated that  he  does  not see  the                                                               
[sponsor's]  intent as  being  to remove  a  federal holiday  and                                                               
replace it  with a new  one.   He expressed appreciation  for the                                                               
sponsor's intent  to be inclusive  and for the  enjoyable aspects                                                               
of  Alaska  Native culture.    He  acknowledged that  there  were                                                               
atrocities and injustices  that had happened, but  said he thinks                                                               
the intent of  HB 78 is to  move forward and try  and avoid those                                                               
things in the future - not  just for particular groups of people,                                                               
but for everyone.                                                                                                               
9:07:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FANSLER expressed  appreciation for  the comments  from                                                               
Representative  Talerico that  "hit the  nail on  the head."   He                                                               
said he supports  HB 78 and considers his co-sponsorship  of it a                                                               
great honor  and source of  pride.   He said as  a Representative                                                               
from  a district  that is  a  majority Alaska  Native, he  thinks                                                               
"this  is the  least  we  can do  to  recognize  all the  amazing                                                               
contributions  ... that  we've  received  from indigenous  people                                                               
from around the world."                                                                                                         
9:09:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  PARISH moved  to report  HB  78 out  of committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection, HB  78 was  reported out of  the House                                                               
Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB008 Additional Documentation-7.30.15 VAWA Enforcement Dept. of Law Opinion 1.20.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJUD 2/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/13/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/15/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 8
HB008 Additional Documentation-2014 Repeal of Alaska Exemption to VAWA 1.20.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJUD 2/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/13/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/15/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 8
HB008 Additional Documentation-USCODE Title 18 Chapter 2265--Full Faith and Credit 1.20.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJUD 2/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/13/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/15/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 8
HB8 House Community & Regional Affairs Hearing Request 1.20.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 8
HB008 Sectional Analysis 1.20.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJUD 2/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/13/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/15/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 8
HB008 Sponsor Statement 1.20.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJUD 2/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/13/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/15/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 8
HB008 ver. A 1.20.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJUD 2/13/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/15/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 8
CRA Hearing Request.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB078 Sponsor Statement 1.25.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 78
HB78 Fiscal Note - DOA.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 78
HB008 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM 1.27.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJUD 2/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/15/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 8
HB008 Fiscal Note DPS-DET 1.27.17.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HJUD 2/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/13/2017 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/15/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 8
HB 78 Supporting Documents - 2015-16 Support Letters.pdf HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 78
HB078 ver A 1.25.17.PDF HCRA 1/31/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 78