Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

01/21/2016 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 175 Out of Committee
Moved HB 231 Out of Committee
              HB 175-ESTABLISH MILITARY FAMILY DAY                                                                          
8:26:36 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER announced that  the final order of business was                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  175, "An Act establishing November  1 as Military                                                               
Family Day."                                                                                                                    
8:26:56 AM                                                                                                                    
ESTHER  MIELKE,  Staff,  Representative Bob  Lynn,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  HB 175  on  behalf  of the  House  State                                                               
Affairs  Standing  Committee,  sponsor, on  which  Representative                                                               
Lynn serves as the chair.  She stated:                                                                                          
     House  Bill  175  establishes Military  Family  Day  to                                                                    
     honor and support families of  our servicemen and women                                                                    
     in  Alaska  every  year on  November  1.    Nationally,                                                                    
     November  is  designated  as National  Military  Family                                                                    
     month.   The President  of the United  States typically                                                                    
     makes  an  annual  announcement to  inform  the  public                                                                    
     about this  month.  We  thought it was fitting  to have                                                                    
     our Alaskan  Military Family Day  to coincide  with the                                                                    
     beginning of the nationally designated month.                                                                              
8:27:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN stated  that HB  175 is  far more  than a  "day bill"                                                               
because it  is important  to national defense.   He  talked about                                                               
the  service  of  those  in  the military  and  related  his  own                                                               
experience growing  up in  a military  family and  his subsequent                                                               
service in  the U.S. Air  Force.  He  went to flight  school, got                                                               
married,  and  subsequently  had  six children.    Typically,  he                                                               
explained, a  military family  moves to  a different  post around                                                               
the  U.S.  every two  years,  which  disrupts  the lives  of  the                                                               
military person's spouse  and children and requires  them to have                                                               
to  start all  over at  each new  post.   He pointed  out that  a                                                               
service person is  either in combat or preparing for  combat.  He                                                               
served  in  Vietnam  and  received  his  family's  support  while                                                               
serving there, which was very important.                                                                                        
CHAIR LYNN pointed out, "When  you join the military, your family                                                               
joins with  you."  He  said the  military families back  home had                                                               
support groups, which allowed him to  do a better job and made it                                                               
possible for  him not to  worry.   In conclusion, he  opined that                                                               
the family is the bedrock  foundation for what makes our nation's                                                               
military great,  and it deserves  acknowledgment; passing  HB 175                                                               
is one way to do that.                                                                                                          
8:32:43 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER noted that Chair  Lynn had authored a book, "My                                                               
Own at War."                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN pointed  out that family support  is needed regardless                                                               
of the service person's rank.                                                                                                   
8:33:30 AM                                                                                                                    
LAURIE  HUMMEL,  Adjutant   General/Commissioner,  Department  of                                                               
Military &  Veterans' Affairs (DMVA),  thanked the  committee for                                                               
inviting her to testify and offered  her support for HB 175.  She                                                               
noted   that  while   she  is   always  prepared   to  publically                                                               
acknowledge  the patriotism,  dedication, and  skill of  Alaska's                                                               
military men  and women,  she is especially  pleased to  focus on                                                               
the  enormous  contributions  of  military families.    She  said                                                               
military  families make  many sacrifices  and  make possible  the                                                               
operation of the  armed forces; however, the  public rarely fully                                                               
appreciates the families' contributions.                                                                                        
ADJUTANT GENERAL HUMMEL said she  knows what military families do                                                               
because she has seen it and lived  it firsthand in her life.  She                                                               
recounted that  her father was in  the U.S. Army for  close to 24                                                               
years and  was married to her  mother for the latter  20 years of                                                               
that time.   Four of those twenty years were  spent in combat and                                                               
two of  those twenty  years were  spent away  from home  on field                                                               
exercises and  other places the U.S.  Army sent him.   Her mother                                                               
had two babies alone overseas, as  both times her father was away                                                               
in the field,  and they lived in nine different  places in twenty                                                               
years.  Her  mother would have liked to have  her own career, but                                                               
put  those plans  on the  shelf  as she  supported military  unit                                                               
functions, army  volunteer programs,  and acted as  both parents.                                                               
Adjutant General Hummel  pointed out that her  description of her                                                               
mother describes all the members of military families.                                                                          
ADJUTANT  GENERAL HUMMEL  shared  that she  has  been a  deployed                                                               
soldier  and has  been the  spouse of  a deployed  soldier.   She                                                               
stated  that being  the spouse  left at  home is  more difficult,                                                               
because it  involves twice the work,  all of the worry,  and none                                                               
of the credit.   She pointed out that there  are lots of families                                                               
whose  service members'  deployments  resulted  in life  altering                                                               
injuries.  When  this happens, family members' lives  are just as                                                               
affected  as service  members  as they  adjust,  care, and  give.                                                               
Similarly, when  a member of  the military loses his/her  life in                                                               
service,  the   "gold  star  families"   left  behind   must,  of                                                               
necessity,  find a  way to  move  forward, but  they never  fully                                                               
ADJUTANT GENERAL  HUMMEL stated that nearly  74,000 veterans call                                                               
Alaska home.  Alaska has more  veterans per capita than any other                                                               
state.    Alaska's  veterans  and   their  families  deserve  the                                                               
public's  unwavering support.   The  success of  veterans is  not                                                               
sustained by  what they have already  done but in what  more they                                                               
can provide  and especially how  best they can  show appreciation                                                               
to the  backbone of the  military -  the military families.   She                                                               
posited that it  is appropriate that November 1,  All Saints Day,                                                               
has been selected as the day for recognition.                                                                                   
8:38:09 AM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN DEAN testified that his  wife is currently a staff sergeant                                                               
in  the  military and  they  have  been through  two  deployments                                                               
together as a family with two  children.  He stated that Adjutant                                                               
General Hummel  [illustrated the  life of  a military  spouse and                                                               
family] well.  He related that  there have been many times where,                                                               
as  a spouse,  he has  been left  to take  care of  a lot  of the                                                               
household  duties.   A benefit  of the  "National Guard"  is that                                                               
there is always  support for the families, such as  help with the                                                               
kids.   For example, prior to  his wife returning from  her first                                                               
deployment in Afghanistan, he and  his children participated in a                                                               
reintegration  seminar  about  how  to react  and  how  a  family                                                               
changes when people  come back from overseas.   He expressed that                                                               
as  November  is Military  Family  Month,  recognizing Alaska  by                                                               
designating November  1 [as Military  Family Day, under  HB 175,]                                                               
would be "awesome."                                                                                                             
VICE CHAIR KELLER thanked Mr. Dean for coming in to testify.                                                                    
8:40:11 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER  closed public testimony on HB  175, except, in                                                               
the event further questions come up on the bill.                                                                                
8:40:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG offered his  understanding that there is                                                               
a current effort  to provide a waiver to admission  to the Alaska                                                               
Bar  Association  for spouses  of  military  folks, so  a  person                                                               
coming in Alaska  with his/her active duty spouse  would not have                                                               
to be admitted  to the Alaska Bar during the  time that he/she is                                                               
in Alaska.  He further  offered his understanding that there have                                                               
been efforts to extend waivers  for other types of licenses, such                                                               
as for  a welder  for example.   He inquired  how this  is coming                                                               
ADJUTANT GENERAL HUMMEL replied she  does not have an answer now,                                                               
but would get a comprehensive list  of the efforts that have been                                                               
made for  certification and licensure waivers  or adjustments for                                                               
military  spouses  and  would provide  that  information  to  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  added that  it  is  important for  the                                                               
state to  get the benefit of  the services of skilled  spouses as                                                               
well as skilled military personnel.                                                                                             
8:42:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG moved to report  HB 175 out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  HB 175 was reported  from the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1 HB231 ver A.pdf HSTA 1/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 231
2 HB231 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 1/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 231
3 HB231 Supporting Documents-Audit of Board of Parole.pdf HSTA 1/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 231
4 HB231 Fiscal Note.pdf HSTA 1/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 231
1 HB0175A.PDF HSTA 1/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 175
2 Sponsor Statement HB175 v.A.pdf HSTA 1/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 175
3 HB175 Fiscal Note-HB175-LEG-SESS-1-18-2016.pdf HSTA 1/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 175