Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

03/31/2016 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
08:14:27 AM Start
08:15:09 AM HJR30
08:31:28 AM Confirmation Hearing(s):
08:32:07 AM Alaska Police Standards Council
08:42:53 AM State Commission for Human Rights
08:46:01 AM Alaska Public Offices Commission
08:48:25 AM Parole Board
08:54:33 AM Alaska Police Standards Council
08:59:30 AM HB269
09:16:55 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
- State Commission for Human Rights
- Alaska Police Standards Council
- Board of Parole
- Alaska Public Offices Commission
Moved CSHJR 30(STA) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 269(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HJR 30-POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS INJURY                                                                           
8:15:09 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR KELLER  announced that  the first  order of  business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  JOINT  RESOLUTION NO.  30,  Urging the  American                                                               
Psychiatric  Association  to   change  the  term  "post-traumatic                                                               
stress disorder"  or "PTSD" to "post-traumatic  stress injury" or                                                               
"PTSI";  and urging  the governor  to support  usage of  the term                                                               
"post-traumatic stress injury."                                                                                                 
[Before the committee was CSHJR 30(MLV).]                                                                                       
8:15:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BOB HERRON,  Alaska State  Legislature, presented                                                               
HJR  30  as  prime  sponsor.     He  relayed  that  the  proposed                                                               
resolution is an issue affecting  many people, and it would serve                                                               
as  a  conversation  starter.   He  advised  that  post-traumatic                                                               
stress is caused by an event,  such as combat, rape, child abuse,                                                               
or other traumas.  He  said that the symptoms include flashbacks,                                                               
nightmares, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON offered  that to  some people  the current                                                               
label  of  post-traumatic  stress disorder  (PTSD)  represents  a                                                               
stigma suggesting  an untreatable condition  even though it  is a                                                               
treatable injury.   The implied request within HJR 30  is for the                                                               
American Psychiatric  Association (APA) to consider  changing the                                                               
term "post-traumatic  stress disorder" to  "post-traumatic stress                                                               
injury" in  the next revision  of the Diagnostic  and Statistical                                                             
Manual  of Mental  Disorders (DSM).   He  conceded that  opinions                                                             
exist on both sides of the  issue of changing the terminology and                                                               
reiterated   that  the   proposed   legislation  will   encourage                                                               
conversation  about an  important issue.   He  added that  HJR 30                                                               
urges  the  Alaska  Congressional   Delegation  to  champion  the                                                               
terminology in ways it sees fit,  and it would designate June 27,                                                               
2016 the PTSI Awareness Day.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON concluded  by saying that he  is in support                                                               
of  an  amendment  to  be offered  by  Representative  Lynn,  and                                                               
advised that  this resolution is  not about changing  the current                                                               
award qualifications for a Purple Heart.                                                                                        
8:18:07 AM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT    DOEHL,    Deputy    Commissioner,   Office    of    the                                                               
Commissioner/Adjutant   General,   Department   of   Military   &                                                               
Veterans'  Affairs  (DMVA),  identified   himself  as  a  retired                                                               
colonel, and testified in support of  HJR 30 in that it addresses                                                               
a condition affecting thousands of  Alaskans.  He relayed that of                                                               
the 74,000 veterans in Alaska,  57,000 have seen combat, and past                                                               
experience has  revealed that  as many as  30 percent,  or 19,000                                                               
Alaskans,  are  likely  to  suffer  from  some  degree  of  post-                                                               
traumatic combat  stress.  He went  on to say that  PTSD does not                                                               
only impact veterans  as tens of thousands of  family members are                                                               
also affected by injuries to  their loved ones and the subsequent                                                               
disruption  to  daily  life.    He  said  that  the  [19,000]  he                                                               
mentioned  excludes  the tens  of  thousands  of active  military                                                               
serving in Alaska and their families.                                                                                           
8:19:25 AM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL  DOEHL related  that within  his career,  he often  deals                                                               
with those  struggling with PTSI -  beginning when he was  an 18-                                                               
year-old infantry medic through to  his retirement as a vice wing                                                               
commander  a few  decades later.    As an  attorney, he  related,                                                               
while at the U.S. Department  of Justice, he worked with hundreds                                                               
of PTSI survivors  dealing with aviation accidents,  and while in                                                               
the State  of Alaska, Office  of the Attorney General,  he worked                                                               
with  sexual   assault  survivors.    Speaking   from  first-hand                                                               
experience,  he said  he has  seen that  PTSI takes  a continuous                                                               
devastating toll if  not treated, and asserted  that many victims                                                               
can't hold  down jobs, become  estranged from their  families, or                                                               
lose their lives.                                                                                                               
COLONEL  DOEHL   opined  that  the  term   "disorder"  implies  a                                                               
deviation from  normal and exacerbates a  stigma that discourages                                                               
diagnosis  and treatment.   He  stated that  PTSI does  not arise                                                               
from a genetic  condition or from personal  values and decisions,                                                               
and that PTSI  is not a disorder in an  individual but the result                                                               
of an externally imposed event or  events.  He added that PTSI is                                                               
a natural  response to an  unnatural situation and  declared that                                                               
the  time was  well past  to rename  the condition  to accurately                                                               
reflect that it is caused by an external force.                                                                                 
COLONEL  DOEHL  referred  to  the   House  Special  Committee  on                                                               
Military  and Veterans'  Affairs  hearing on  HJR  30 [March  22,                                                               
2016],  in which  Representative  Lynn voiced  concern that  some                                                               
veterans  may claim  PTSD as  an excuse  for their  actions.   He                                                               
remarked  that  when  there  is  a battle  field  injury,  it  is                                                               
inexcusable not to  provide assistance to a  downed battle buddy.                                                               
He said, to  the extent calling post-traumatic  stress a disorder                                                               
discourages  calling  for aid,  changing  it  from "disorder"  to                                                               
"injury" makes  it clear  the appropriate  action is  treatment -                                                               
not just living  with it or making  it an excuse.  He  went on to                                                               
say  that  Canada,  shortly  after   [the  terrorist  attacks  of                                                               
September 11,  2001], changed its  military regulations  to refer                                                               
to  post-traumatic  stress  as  an  injury,  not  a  disorder  to                                                               
encourage seeking treatment.                                                                                                    
COLONEL DOEHL,  on behalf  of the DMVA,  welcomed the  efforts of                                                               
the House Special Committee on  Military and Veterans' Affairs on                                                               
this matter of vital importance  to the state's veterans, service                                                               
members, their families, and all of society.                                                                                    
8:21:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  after ascertaining  no one  further wished                                                               
to testify, closed public testimony on HJR 30.                                                                                  
8:22:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ related  that she  serves on  the House                                                               
Special Committee on  Military and Veterans' Affairs  and had the                                                               
privilege  of listening  to the  testimony of  Colonel Doehl  and                                                               
leaders from  [the nonprofit]  Honor for All.   She  related that                                                               
she  was  impressed  with  their  commitment  in  helping  people                                                               
recognize that PTSI is something  from which one suffers and does                                                               
not indicate  something is intrinsically  wrong with  the victim.                                                               
She  offered  that  if  changing the  title  from  "disorder"  to                                                               
"injury" can help any of  our military veterans seek the services                                                               
to  help them  recover from  it, then  she thinks  that would  be                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ  relayed  her  personal  experience  in                                                               
adopting a child who underwent a  great deal of trauma as a young                                                               
person  who  has  experienced many  of  the  symptoms  mentioned,                                                               
including   flashbacks,  hypervigilance,   nightmares,  emotional                                                               
numbness, and anxiety.  Through  treatment, her daughter has been                                                               
able to recover from many of  the symptoms.  She added that while                                                               
her daughter  will probably  never be the  person she  would have                                                               
been  had   she  not  experienced   the  trauma,   that  personal                                                               
experience for Representative Spohnholz  has been a great example                                                               
that treatment can  help people overcome the effects  of PTSI and                                                               
become healthy  and happy people.   She expressed her  desire for                                                               
the military  veterans, who have experienced  traumatic stress as                                                               
a result  of their  service to  the country, to  be able  to find                                                               
that  kind of  healing and  happiness.   She added  that it  is a                                                               
dignity they deserve  and she is excited to  support the proposed                                                               
8:23:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  made  a  motion to  adopt  Amendment  1                                                               
[labeled 29-LS1483\N.1, Shutts, 3/28/16], which read:                                                                           
     Page 3, following line 13:                                                                                                 
          Insert new material to read:                                                                                          
           "WHEREAS this resolution does not advocate                                                                         
       changing the current qualifications for the Purple                                                                       
     Heart; and"                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                      
8:24:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  mentioned  that   Amendment  1  adds  a                                                               
section on  page 3 that  read: "Whereas this resolution  does not                                                               
advocate  changing  the  current qualifications  for  the  Purple                                                               
Heart. He offered his understanding  that the sponsor agrees with                                                               
the proposed  amendment.  He  relayed that between his  two older                                                               
brothers, both  Vietnam War veterans,  are four Purple  Hearts, a                                                               
Silver Star  awarded by  the U.S.  Marine Corp,  and a  U.S. Navy                                                               
Commendation  Medal.    He  stated   that  he  appreciates  their                                                               
8:25:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER removed  his  objection.   There being  no                                                               
further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                     
8:26:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  moved  to   report  CSHJR  30(MLV),  as                                                               
amended,  out of  committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                               
zero fiscal note.                                                                                                               
8:26:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER objected.   He stated he  is sympathetic to                                                               
the issue but  disagrees with using the word  "injury" because it                                                               
muddies  the meaning  of the  term and  opens the  door to  legal                                                               
interpretation.    He removed  his  objection.   There  being  no                                                               
further objection,  CSHJR 30(STA) was  reported out of  the House                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Belden.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
Johnson.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
Meyer.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
Nakasato.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
Papasodora.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
Reich.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
Swihart.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
Temple.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
Wilson.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
10 HJR 30 Amendment N.1 (Lynn).pdf HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
HJR 30
01 HB 269 v.A.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 269
02 HB 269 Transmittal Letter 01-18-2016.pdf HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 269
03 HB 269 Fiscal Note DPS 1-6-2016.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 269
04 HB 269 Fiscal Note MLV 1-6-2016.PDF HSTA 3/31/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 269