Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120
03/21/2017 01:00 PM House MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS
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|Presentation: Alaska Forget Me Not Coalition|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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 requirements." 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 officer. 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 qualifications. 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 jobs. 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 qualifications. 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 skills. 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 remarked: 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 experience. 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 rare." 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 requirement. 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 experience. 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.
|Alaska Forget Me Not Coalition Presentation to MLV Cmte 3.21.17.ppt||
HMLV 3/21/2017 1:00:00 PM