Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/21/2017 01:00 PM House MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
01:02:41 PM Start
01:04:08 PM Presentation: Alaska Forget Me Not Coalition
01:44:51 PM HB165
02:08:04 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Alaska Forget Me Not Coalition Presentation TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public and Invited Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HB 165-STATE PERSONNEL ACT: VETERANS                                                                          
1:44:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  165, "An Act relating to hiring  for positions in                                                               
state service  based on substitution of  military work experience                                                               
or   training   for   civilian  work   experience   or   training                                                               
1:45:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH,  as prime sponsor,  presented HB 165.   He                                                               
pointed out  that Alaska  has more veterans  per capita  than any                                                               
other state;  more than  200 veterans return  to the  state every                                                               
month.  He stated that veterans  report that finding a job is the                                                               
main  barrier to  transitioning from  military to  civilian life.                                                               
He  stated that  HB 165  would reduce  the potential  of veterans                                                               
missing job opportunity that they are qualified to fill.                                                                        
1:46:18 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  EDWARDSON, Staff,  Representative  Justin Parish,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, explained  HB 165 to the  committee, on behalf                                                               
of  Representative Parish,  prime sponsor.   He  stated that  the                                                               
proposed  bill would  add to  the State  Personnel Act,  which is                                                               
found under  AS 39.25.150.   The  proposed legislation  would set                                                               
procedures  currently used  by the  Department of  Administration                                                               
for  accepting the  substitution of  military knowledge,  skills,                                                               
and  abilities as  qualifying for  state classified  positions to                                                               
meet  minimum qualifications.    The bill  would  also allow  the                                                               
Department  of   Administration  to  establish  a   procedure  or                                                               
regulation   to  substitute   military  experience   for  minimum                                                               
qualifications in some cases.                                                                                                   
MR.  EDWARDSON assessed  that the  bill would  change the  hiring                                                               
process, which involves six separate  stages for state classified                                                               
services:    recruitment, application,  pre-interview  screening,                                                               
interviews, reference checks, and hiring.   He explained that the                                                               
first  three  stages  are where  veterans  may  be  inadvertently                                                               
chased away  for some recruitments.   An agency will  advertise a                                                               
vacant position,  listing the requirements for  the position, the                                                               
desired traits  and characteristics for the  ideal applicant, and                                                               
minimum qualifications.   He expressed that a  veteran may decide                                                               
not to apply for a job  because he/she feels that he/she does not                                                               
meet the minimum qualifications,  although he/she may have traits                                                               
of an ideal candidate.                                                                                                          
MR.  EDWARDSON offered  an example  from  his life  as a  20-year                                                               
coast guard veteran and a state hiring manager.  He remarked:                                                                   
     Kate was  a non-commissioned officer in  the U.S. Coast                                                                    
     Guard.   As  one  of her  collateral  duties, Kate  was                                                                    
     required  to be  a  law  enforcement boarding  officer.                                                                    
     She attended  the maritime  law enforcement  academy at                                                                    
     the   federal  law   enforcement  training   center  in                                                                    
     Charleston, South  Carolina.  She then  completed ... a                                                                    
     rigorous  training  process  at  her  home  unit,  then                                                                    
     performed  numerous  cases  a federal  law  enforcement                                                                    
     What knowledge,  skill, or ability did  this collateral                                                                    
     duty give to  Kate?  Well, in school, ...  in her duty,                                                                    
     she would  have learned  authority and  jurisdiction in                                                                    
     general:     how   laws,  regulations,   policies,  and                                                                    
     procedures,  and  that  sort  of thing  relate  to  the                                                                    
     overall   framework  of   government  interaction   and                                                                    
     government  intervention  into  people's  lives.    She                                                                    
     would have  ... learned  defensive tactics and  the use                                                                    
     of force, which  ... isn't just dressing up  in the red                                                                    
     gear and beating each other  up.  You learn to maintain                                                                    
     effective  working  relationships -  officer  presence,                                                                    
     just how you present  yourself, without speaking verbal                                                                    
     commands  -  and  clear  communication.    She'd  learn                                                                    
     criminal  investigation,  which  for  many  state  jobs                                                                    
     would  correspond   to  research   techniques,  writing                                                                    
     protocols, and  independent adjudications for a  lot of                                                                    
     the  different departments  ... [wherein]  people apply                                                                    
     for  ...  permits  or  they  apply  for  some  sort  of                                                                    
     consideration  somewhere.     People  who've  had  this                                                                    
     experience would be ideal for that.                                                                                        
MR.  EDWARDSON said  part  of being  a  law enforcement  boarding                                                               
officer is being an instructor,  which requires effective written                                                               
and oral communication  and making presentations.   He noted that                                                               
he has  been a  manager in the  Department of  Natural Resources,                                                               
and he compared the example  to a Natural Resource Specialist II.                                                               
He  expressed that  people like  Kate would  not qualify  for the                                                               
job; however, he  offered his assessment that they  would do very                                                               
well in the job.                                                                                                                
1:51:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. EDWARDSON stated that the bill  would not take jobs away from                                                               
non-veteran Alaskans, but would  add otherwise qualified veterans                                                               
to  candidate  pools to  be  interviewed.   Currently,  candidate                                                               
pools have  many highly qualified  and capable  non-veterans, and                                                               
HB 165 would  put veterans in the same hiring  pool as other non-                                                               
veterans.   He stated that there  is a zero fiscal  note from the                                                               
Department of Administration.  He  said that regulations would be                                                               
required.    He  conveyed  that the  committee  has  helped  make                                                               
transition easier  for veterans  by filling gaps  in law,  and he                                                               
added  that  HB  165  would  fill another  gap.    He  urged  the                                                               
committee to support the proposed legislation.                                                                                  
1:52:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX said that the  bill looks familiar, and she                                                               
asked if a similar bill had been introduced previously.                                                                         
1:53:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH answered, "Not to my knowledge."                                                                          
MR.  EDWARDSON responded  that there  is  a legislative  research                                                               
report  [included   in  the  committee  packet],   which  loosely                                                               
summarizes  related legislation.    He proffered  that  HB 2  had                                                               
already been  through the  committee this  year, and  three years                                                               
ago   a  Senate   bill   assisted   military  members   regarding                                                               
professional licensing.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX concluded that the  Senate bill is what she                                                               
was thinking of.                                                                                                                
1:53:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked if  there is anything that currently                                                               
prevents  a  veteran  from  having  his/her  military  experience                                                               
counted in an application.                                                                                                      
MR. EDWARDSON  answered that the Division  of Personnel currently                                                               
follows  [Standard Operating  Procedure] (SOP)  04, which  allows                                                               
people  to   use  their  military  experience   to  meet  minimum                                                               
qualifications.   He offered his  understanding that SOP  04 does                                                               
not   allow  people   to  substitute   military  experience   for                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  what  documentation  is  used  to                                                               
verify or document the military training a veteran has received.                                                                
MR.  EDWARDSON answered  that  there are  a  number of  different                                                               
documents  for different  services.   There are  requirements for                                                               
filing  systems,  both paper  and  electronic,  to keep  training                                                               
records.  He  explained that within the Coast Guard,  there is an                                                               
"administrative remark  sheet 3307," which supervisors  often use                                                               
to document certain types of experience  - both good and bad.  He                                                               
added that awards can be used as documentation.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  whether the  administrative remark                                                               
sheet 3307 is a state or military form.                                                                                         
MR. EDWARDSON  answered that it  is a  Coast Guard form  found in                                                               
the Pay, Personnel, and Procedures manual.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER offered  his understanding  that DoD  has                                                               
worked to  address this  issue and has  tried to  improve service                                                               
records for  the military resume  to make them  more transferable                                                               
and  comprehensible to  civilian  employers.   He  asked if  that                                                               
effort has had its desired effect.                                                                                              
MR.  EDWARDSON responded  that other  than in  times of  war, the                                                               
Coast Guard falls under the  Department of Homeland Security, not                                                               
DoD directives.   He  said that  over the  years there  have been                                                               
several  "plain language"  writing guides  to reduce  the use  of                                                               
[military] jargon and acronyms.                                                                                                 
1:56:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  asked whether  the intention of  HB 165                                                               
is to  ensure that transferrable  military experience  and skills                                                               
can substitute  for minimum qualifications in  applying for state                                                               
MR. EDWARDSON  answered that is one  of the goals.   He explained                                                               
that the  Department of Administration currently  uses a standard                                                               
operation system  that allows  people to  use military  credit to                                                               
meet  minimum qualifications;  the proposed  bill would  set this                                                               
practice  as law  instead of  policy, making  it unchangeable  by                                                               
policy decisions.   He added  that the intent  of the bill  is to                                                               
allow applicable  military experience  to substitute  for minimum                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  stated that she supports  the intent of                                                               
the  proposed  bill  to  ensure   that  transferable  skills  are                                                               
recognized  as important.   She  commented that  there have  been                                                               
clear  examples in  the  past of  translation  problems, and  she                                                               
emphasized the  importance of  ensuring that  military experience                                                               
is  translated in  a  way  that is  understandable  to people  in                                                               
civilian management.  She explained  that she has tried to decode                                                               
what someone's  experience in  the military  meant in  a civilian                                                               
context.   She  stated that  the task  can be  challenging.   She                                                               
mentioned  that she  wants to  make sure  that HB  165 would  not                                                               
allow  "seat  time" in  a  non-related  field to  substitute  for                                                               
actual relevant  skills and  experience.   She asked  whether Mr.                                                               
Edwardson is confident that the  substitution of skills would not                                                               
qualify a  person for a job  for which he/she might  not have the                                                               
MR. EDWARDSON  responded that first  draft of the  bill contained                                                               
"more  meat" than  the draft  by Legislative  Legal and  Research                                                               
Services,  which  he  claimed  is   the  superior  version.    He                                                               
     The way  that it's  drafted allows the  professionals -                                                                    
     the  Department  of  ...  Administration,  Division  of                                                                    
     Personnel  -  to set  those  policies,  to write  those                                                                    
     regulations.   And I think  they would probably  be the                                                                    
     better ones to  answer how you would  avoid doing that,                                                                    
     [to]   ...  make   sure  that   it  is   ...  authentic                                                                    
MR. EDWARDSON  said that after  working with the Coast  Guard for                                                               
22.5 years, he affirmed that the  record keeping is rigorous.  He                                                               
conveyed that research and documentation  is not "puffed up."  He                                                               
said, "Does it  happen?  Perhaps, but I think  it would be pretty                                                               
2:00:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH added  that the  bill stipulates  that the                                                               
military  experience  or  training  should  meet  or  exceed  the                                                               
position  requirements.   He  stated  that  merely being  present                                                               
would  not be  adequate, unless  mere presence  were the  initial                                                               
MR.  EDWARDSON  said that  the  school  mentioned in  a  previous                                                               
example  gives "ace  credits."   He  explained  that the  schools                                                               
often have  third parties  verify the  authenticity and  rigor of                                                               
2:01:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ clarified  that  she  is not  concerned                                                               
that people in the military  are not earning authentic experience                                                               
or  that  there would  be  inflation  of  the experience  in  the                                                               
records.  She  explained that her concern is  that the experience                                                               
is clarified and relevant [to the job].                                                                                         
2:02:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked if "seat  time" means that  a person                                                               
was present and sitting on a seat.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  clarified that she used  the term "seat                                                               
time"  to refer  to the  time a  person worked  or served  in the                                                               
military, but not  [to refer to] the  quality or characterization                                                               
of the work.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX pointed out that  the statute talks about a                                                               
veteran  or a  former prisoner  of war.   She  asked how  someone                                                               
could be a prisoner of war and not be a veteran.                                                                                
2:03:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. EDWARDSON  noted that it  is written that way  multiple times                                                               
within the State Personnel Act.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX repeated her question.                                                                                    
2:03:42 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN  WAYNE,  Attorney,  Legislative  Legal  Counsel,  Legislative                                                               
Legal and  Research Services,  answered that  he doesn't  think a                                                               
person could be a prisoner of war and not a veteran.                                                                            
2:04:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK proposed that a contract  employee with DoD could be a                                                               
prisoner of war.                                                                                                                
2:04:41 PM                                                                                                                    
VERDIE  BOWEN, Director  of Veterans  Affairs, Office  of Veteran                                                               
Affairs,  Department  of  Military  &  Veterans'  Affairs  (DMVA)                                                               
responded that  it is possible  to be  a prisoner of  war without                                                               
being  a veteran.    He  pointed out  that  when  all the  family                                                               
members  and civilians  that  were held  by  the Japanese  during                                                               
World War  II were  released from  captivity, they  were eligible                                                               
for  the "defense  of the  Philippines medal"  and were  provided                                                               
prisoner of war status and rights.                                                                                              
2:05:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    LEDOUX   offered    her   understanding    that                                                               
international  treaties do  not allow  making a  prisoner of  war                                                               
work.  She  asked how a prisoner of war  could develop experience                                                               
as a prisoner of war without working.                                                                                           
MR.  BOWEN offered  his understanding  that the  experience would                                                               
come before or after their prisoner  of war status.  He said that                                                               
a lot  of things are  written in international treaties  that are                                                               
violated when people  become prisoners of war.   He remarked, "We                                                               
don't have to go far back in time,  we could just go to the Hanoi                                                               
Hilton  and think  of what  those prisoners  of war  went through                                                               
during their  time there."   He mentioned  his belief  that after                                                               
the first gulf  war there were prisoners of war.   He offered his                                                               
recollection  of seeing  a  female major  speak  before the  U.S.                                                               
Senate  about  the issues  she  experienced  during her  time  in                                                               
captivity.    He  explained  that   there  had  been  expeditious                                                               
violations of the Geneva Convention.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  conveyed her belief that  prisoners of war                                                               
have  gone  through  horrendous   experiences.    She  questioned                                                               
whether those experiences translate to civilian jobs.                                                                           
MR. BOWEN responded that he would  not know how to translate that                                                               
experience either.                                                                                                              
2:07:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TUCK announced that HB 165 was held over.                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Alaska Forget Me Not Coalition Presentation to MLV Cmte 3.21.17.ppt HMLV 3/21/2017 1:00:00 PM