Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/25/2010 09:30 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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09:37:00 AM Start
09:37:10 AM SB43
10:13:14 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
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= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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Heard & Held
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           SB  43-SECOND VERSE OF ALASKA'S STATE SONG                                                                       
9:37:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the only order of  business was SENATE                                                               
BILL  NO. 43,  "An  Act adding  a second  verse  to the  official                                                               
Alaska state song."                                                                                                             
9:37:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  ROVITO,  Staff,  Senator   Linda  Menard,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  SB  43  on  behalf  of  Senator  Menard,                                                               
sponsor.   He said  the proposed legislation  would add  a second                                                               
verse to the  Alaska Flag Song.  The second  verse was written by                                                               
Carol Beery  Davis in 1987.   Mr.  Rovito stated that  the second                                                               
verse pays tribute to Alaska Natives,  as well as to the designer                                                               
of the  flag, Benny Benson.   He noted that this  legislation has                                                               
been introduced in the past, but did not passed both houses.                                                                    
MR. ROVITO said Senator Albert  Kookesh has been quoted as saying                                                               
about SB 43 the following:                                                                                                      
     This  is a  little  step, but  it  recognizes a  Native                                                                    
     person who  designed the Alaska  Flag; it  recognizes a                                                                    
     song that says  there will be no bars in  our culture -                                                                    
     that culture will be elevated.                                                                                             
9:41:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CONSTANCE DAVIS  told the committee  that she is the  daughter of                                                               
Carol Beery  Davis.  She said  her mother moved to  Alaska at the                                                               
same time as Marie Drake.   Elinor Dusenbury followed a few years                                                               
later.   All three women  were friends.   Ms. Davis  related that                                                               
Ms.  Drake worked  as  a  secretary to  the  commissioner of  the                                                               
Department  of Education,  while her  mother, Carol  Beery Davis,                                                               
played the  pipe organ  for the Palace  Theatre for  seven years,                                                               
and  then,  after "the  talkies"  came  out,  "stayed on  for  71                                                               
MS.  DAVIS spoke  of the  efforts of  George A.  Parks, a  former                                                               
territorial governor,  to establish a  state flag for Alaska.   A                                                               
contest was issued  for flag designs, which ended  March 1, 1927.                                                               
Ms. Davis relayed that her father  was on the committee to choose                                                               
the flag.                                                                                                                       
MS. DAVIS  said the flag was  adopted by the legislature  in May.                                                               
She offered her understanding that  an idea was generated to send                                                               
a small flag and  a copy of an act related to  the flag around to                                                               
schools for children to study.   Ms. Davis said Ms. Drake did not                                                               
think children  would want  to have  to memorize  an act,  so she                                                               
recommended  a jingle  instead.   She was  given the  go-ahead to                                                               
come  up with  [a  verse].   She stated,  "I'm  sure that  Marie,                                                               
today, would  agree that something was  left out of that,  so I'm                                                               
glad  my mother  went ahead  and did  that verse  when approached                                                               
about it."                                                                                                                      
9:44:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. DAVIS said  the Alaska Flag became popular in  a short period                                                               
of time.   She related that Ms. Dusenbury's first  glimpse of the                                                               
flag and  the verse was  in a magazine  during a trip  south, and                                                               
Ms. Dusenbury was moved to write a song for the verse.                                                                          
9:45:28 AM                                                                                                                    
LORRAINE HAUSMAN testified in opposition to  SB 43.  She said she                                                               
grew  up  in Kodiak  and  knew  Bennie  Benson and  his  daughter                                                               
Charlotte.    She  expressed concern  that  this  legislation  is                                                               
"getting ram-rodded through."  She  said her perception is that a                                                               
coalition of  Native legislators have  decided a second  verse is                                                               
needed, where it should come  from, that a non-Native would write                                                               
it, what  should be  in it,  and "what was  going to  be passed."                                                               
Ms. Hausman  stated, "The song  was over  30-40 years old  by the                                                               
time ... [Carol]  Beery Davis wrote it.  She's  not here to speak                                                               
for herself."   She said she  checked with her daughter,  who has                                                               
been a  teacher for 10 years,  and found that [the  second verse]                                                               
is not familiar in all the  schools.  Ms. Hausman said she thinks                                                               
more  time  and  input  is  needed  before  a  decision  is  made                                                               
regarding the second verse.                                                                                                     
9:49:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MARIE OLSON, testifying  in support of SB 43,  told the committee                                                               
that she was born  in Juneau on November 28, 1924.   She said she                                                               
has spent time  in the home of Carol Beery  Davis, who taught her                                                               
to appreciate poetry.  She stated  that Carol Beery Davis and her                                                               
husband,  who was  a photographer,  were wonderful  people.   She                                                               
indicated  that Carol  Beery Davis's  husband told  stories about                                                               
the Native  culture surrounding  Auke Lake.   Ms. Olson  said she                                                               
supports  the  second  verse,  not because  she  is  Native,  but                                                               
because she appreciates what Carol  Beery Davis has written.  She                                                               
opined that  the written  word is  more important  than feelings,                                                               
and Carol Beery Davis's words speak  from the heart and are about                                                               
CHAIR LYNN  remarked that Alaska,  as a  state, is so  young that                                                               
there are people still alive who knew the state's pioneers.                                                                     
9:51:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CONNIE MUNRO, testifying  in support of SB 43, said  she has been                                                               
in Alaska  since 1971,  and has  been involved  in politics  as a                                                               
citizen.   She revealed that  she is a  member of Camp  2, Alaska                                                               
Native Sisterhood.   In response to the  previous statements made                                                               
by  [Ms.  Hausman],  she  indicated that  many  years  ago,  some                                                               
legislators discussed the  idea of having a contest  for a second                                                               
verse to the Alaska flag song.   However, she said they felt that                                                               
since the  first verse, written  by Marie Drake, was  not derived                                                               
from a  contest, it may  be best to "wait  until there is  a gift                                                               
from  someone who  feels  that  there should  be  a second  verse                                                               
honoring Alaska  Natives."   She said Carol  Beery Davis  wrote a                                                               
book  about the  Alaska Flag  song, and  she provided  [the first                                                               
verse]  after considering  it for  almost  a decade.   Ms.  Munro                                                               
indicated that [the  second verse] rhymes, and  she expressed her                                                               
hope that the committee would support SB 43.                                                                                    
9:54:12 AM                                                                                                                    
MICALYNE KUNZ  McGHEE, testifying in  support of SB 43,  said she                                                               
serves as  the president  of the  Alaska Native  Sisterhood Grand                                                               
Camp, as  well as a  member of Gold  Belt's Heritage Board.   She                                                               
said  "we" love  the Alaska  Flag  song, and  [the second  verse]                                                               
exists and needs  to be brought forth.  She  opined that doing so                                                               
would increase pride in the Native children in the state.                                                                       
9:55:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CAROL  A. TREBIAN,  testifying  in  support of  SB  43, said  the                                                               
second verse "speaks  to the spirit of ...  [Carol Beery] Davis's                                                               
heart that  she had  for the  Native people."   Ms.  Trebian said                                                               
Carol  Beery Davis  was her  advocate and  her music  teacher for                                                               
about six years.  She said in the  1950s there was still a lot of                                                               
overt racism.   She  spoke of escaping  to Chicago  and receiving                                                               
both moral  and financial  support from Carol  Beery Davis.   She                                                               
said she stuck  with music and is a working  musician today.  Ms.                                                               
Trebian opined that  the second verse is  necessary in expressing                                                               
not only Carol Beery Davis's feelings,  but "all of ours - yours,                                                               
when  you really  think of  it."   She  said she  would like  the                                                               
second  verse  included, because  "it  says  who  we are."    She                                                               
thanked Constance  Davis for her  mother's influence and  for her                                                               
work in bringing the second verse  forward.  She talked about the                                                               
suffering  of those  affected by  racism.   She said  Carol Beery                                                               
Davis "had our hearts in  her hands" and expressed "that strength                                                               
of spirit" well in her poetry and in [the second verse].                                                                        
9:59:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  TREBIAN, in  response to  Representative  Gatto, said  there                                                               
were no  signs of her culture  where she looked in  Alaska during                                                               
the 1950s,  but that began  to change  within the six  years that                                                               
she was gone.   Then, she said, when she came  back a second time                                                               
after  being  away 40  years,  "everything  was  back the  way  I                                                               
remembered it as a very, very young  child."  She said as a small                                                               
child she  had to have  a gang protect  her against "the  rest of                                                               
the  people who  were half  this or  that."   She said  her older                                                               
siblings  suffered worse  than she  did.   She  related that  her                                                               
mother had  been an advocate  for [Native] rights -  "the ability                                                               
to walk down the street without  something happening to us."  She                                                               
indicated  that  racism still  exists,  but  "let's say  it  went                                                               
underground."     In  response  to  a   follow-up  question  from                                                               
Representative  Gatto,  she  said  Tlingit  people  have  existed                                                               
forever and  still "are."   She said  she thinks everyone  in the                                                               
world holds some prejudice against others.                                                                                      
10:06:36 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO related that his  first friend in Alaska was                                                               
a Native  Alaskan man.  He  stated that some of  best friends are                                                               
from  other cultures.    He  explained that  he  is sharing  this                                                               
information, because  although he  does not support  the addition                                                               
of a second verse, he wants  to emphasize that his opinion is not                                                               
based on an animosity toward Natives.                                                                                           
MS.  TREBIAN  said  she thinks  Alaska  Natives  "will  certainly                                                               
appreciate the note."                                                                                                           
10:08:39 AM                                                                                                                   
CAROLYN NOE, testifying in support of  SB 43, said she is a dance                                                               
leader  for  a  multi-cultural  group, was  born  and  raised  in                                                               
Hoonah,  Alaska, and  was taught  to  respect her  culture.   She                                                               
urged the  legislature to  pass SB  43.  She  said, "I  feel very                                                               
strongly about honoring  my Native culture and hope  that you can                                                               
do  the same."    She  told the  committee  that  she has  always                                                               
supported both Native  people and legislators.   She related that                                                               
she is  politically involved.   Ms. Noe mentioned For  The Rights                                                             
Of All, which she said is  about "our civil rights movement," and                                                             
she  offered to  give a  copy to  any interested  members on  the                                                               
CHAIR  LYNN, in  response to  Representative Petersen,  asked Ms.                                                               
Noe if she would give a copy to his staff.                                                                                      
10:10:20 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR LINDA MENARD, Alaska State  Legislature, as sponsor of SB
43, said she  thinks the proposed legislation is  important.  She                                                               
indicated  that passing  the  bill out  of  committee would  show                                                               
respect to the Native community.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked Senator  Menard if  she thinks  it is                                                               
disrespectful to vote against SB 43.                                                                                            
10:11:08 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  MENARD stated  her belief  that  she did  not frame  her                                                               
remark that  way.   She reiterated  that she  thinks it  is "very                                                               
respectful to the Native community to go forward with this."                                                                    
10:12:28 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  LYNN closed  public testimony.   He  stated his  intent to                                                               
hear the bill again as soon as it could be scheduled.                                                                           
10:12:44 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR LYNN announced that SB 43 was held over.                                                                                  

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