Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/21/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 5:30 pm Today --
*+ HB 94 AF AMER SOLDIERS CONT TO BUILD AK HWY DAY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 46 OCT 25: AFR-AMER SOLDIERS AK HWY DAY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 46 Out of Committee
*+ HB 163 DPS LAW ENFORCE. SVCS: AGREEMENTS/FEES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 1 ELECTION REGISTRATION AND VOTING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 1(STA) Out of Committee
                                                                                                                                
           SB 46-OCT 25: AFR-AMER SOLDIERS AK HWY DAY                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:13:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would be SENATE  BILL NO. 46, "An Act establishing  October 25 of                                                               
each year as African American  Soldiers' Contribution to Building                                                               
the Alaska Highway Day."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:13:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GARY   ZEPP,   Staff,   Senator  David   Wilson,   Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, presented SB  46 on behalf of  Senator Wilson, prime                                                               
sponsor, with the use of a  PowerPoint presentation.  He began by                                                               
saying that  there is no  disrespect intended  in the use  of the                                                               
terms "blacks"  or "African  Americans" in  discussing SB  46, as                                                               
the terms are interchangeable.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. ZEPP  paraphrased from his  written testimony, which  read as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Good  afternoon   Mr.  Chairman  and  members   of  the                                                                    
                                                           th                                                                   
     committee.  Thank  you for hearing SB 46    October 25                                                                     
     - "African American  Soldiers' Contribution to Building                                                                    
     the Alaska Highway Day"                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Also  Mr. Chairman  and members  of the  committee, I'd                                                                    
     like to  encourage all Alaskans and  visitors to attend                                                                    
                                             th                                                                                 
     this   summer's   Alaska   Highway    75    Anniversary                                                                    
     celebration events taking place throughout the state.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
           th                                                                                                                   
     The 75   anniversary celebrations are a  tribute to all                                                                    
     of the troops and  civilians for their contributions to                                                                    
     building the  Alaska Highway.   All  of the  troops are                                                                    
     all deserving of recognition!   This legislation is not                                                                    
     meant to  ignore nor  disrespect any  of the  troops or                                                                    
     civilians who worked on the Alaska Highway.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     There are  so many amazing stories  related to Alaska's                                                                    
     history yet to  be discovered and shared,  this is just                                                                    
     one of them.  We  believe the African American Soldiers                                                                    
     deserve to have their story told!                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                       th                                                                       
        • Did you know that the all African American 97                                                                         
         Engineer Regiment was responsible for building                                                                         
          the original Alaska Highway from the Alaska-Yukon                                                                     
         border all the way to Delta?  It's true!  Not                                                                          
          many people know that fact.                                                                                           
                                               th                                                                               
        • African American Soldiers from the 97Engineer                                                                         
          Regiment worked on the entire portion of the                                                                          
                                 rdth                                                                                           
          Alaska Highway.  The 93 and 95 Engineer                                                                               
          Regiments worked on various parts of the Alaska                                                                       
          Highway within the Canadian border.                                                                                   
     • It's about the historical context, during the Jim                                                                        
          Crow area (which meant states and local laws                                                                          
        enforced racial segregation up until 1965), the                                                                         
          racist environment they endured and the                                                                               
          segregation imposed upon them, they were poorly                                                                       
          supplied and equipped because of their race, the                                                                      
         US Army's own assessment at that time was that                                                                         
         the African American troops' were substandard                                                                          
          when compared to whites, and the many examples of                                                                     
          the lack of press or mainstream media coverage of                                                                     
         the African American troops' contributions to                                                                          
          building the Alaska Highway until now.                                                                                
      • The African American Soldiers were asked to risk                                                                        
         their lives for their country, yet the country                                                                         
         didn't value them as equals to other races, at                                                                         
          that time.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Army  regulations at  the  time  mandated that  African                                                                    
     Americans  [sic] soldiers  had  to  live in  segregated                                                                    
     camps, and  eat separately from  the whites.    African                                                                    
     American  troops were  not only  segregated from  white                                                                    
     troops,  they  weren't  allowed  near  any  Alaskan  or                                                                    
     Canadian   settlements  and   very  few   residents  in                                                                    
     Fairbanks  or Delta  Junction ever  realized they  were                                                                    
     there.   They were  under orders not  to talk  or visit                                                                    
     with white citizens as they entered Alaska.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:16:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ZEPP began  a PowerPoint presentation.  He  referred to Slide                                                               
                                           th                                                                                   
1,  titled "Senate  Bill 46  - 'October  25   - African  American                                                               
Soldiers' Contribution to Building the  Alaska Highway Day'".  He                                                               
said three  African American  regiments were  sent to  Alaska and                                                               
                                        rd                                                                                      
Canada to work  on the highway:   the 93   Engineer Regiment, the                                                               
thth                                                          th                                                                
95   Engineer Regiment, and the  97Engineer   Regiment.  The  97                                                                
Engineer Regiment worked exclusively on the Alaska section.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ZEPP directed  attention  to Slide  2,  titled "Why  October                                                               
  thth                                                                                                                          
25?"    He relayed that on October 25, the 97   Engineer Regiment                                                               
                                                      th                                                                        
heading  south  met  the  white  troops  from  the  18   Engineer                                                               
Regiment heading  north and completed  the road's last link.   He                                                               
said that The New York Times  reported what happened when the two                                                             
regiments  met  head-on  in  the  spruce  forests  of  the  Yukon                                                               
Territory.   The  article read  as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
provided in the PowerPoint slide]:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Corporal  Refines Sims  Jr., an  African American  from                                                                    
     Philadelphia, who  was driving  south with  a bulldozer                                                                    
     when  he saw  trees  starting to  topple  over on  him,                                                                    
     slamming his  big vehicle into  reverse, he  backed out                                                                    
     just  as another  bulldozer, driven  by Private  Alfred                                                                    
     Jalufka   of   Kennedy,   Texas,  broke   through   the                                                                    
     underbrush.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ZEPP   stated  that  an  Engineering   News-Record  magazine                                                             
photographer,  Harold  Richardson,  captured  the  image  of  the                                                               
African American soldier and the  white soldier standing on their                                                               
respective bulldozers.  He relayed  that this meeting occurred 20                                                               
miles  east of  the  Alaska-Yukon  border at  Beaver  Creek.   He                                                               
quoted an  article in the Engineering  News-Record describing the                                                             
meeting as  "two races  working together to  build a  lifeline to                                                               
Alaska's  defenders  amidst   spectacularly  rugged  terrain  and                                                               
horrendous weather conditions."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. ZEPP referred to Slide 3  and related that the Alaska Highway                                                               
is considered one of the  biggest and most difficult construction                                                               
projects  ever completed  by the  U.S.  Corps of  Engineers.   It                                                               
stretches  1,422 miles  from Dawson  Creek, British  Columbia, to                                                               
Delta Junction, Alaska, at a  cost of $138 million dollars, which                                                               
would be $2.1 billion today.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ZEPP  said to add  perspective, on March 30,  1867, Secretary                                                               
of  State  William  Seward  reached   agreement  with  Russia  to                                                               
purchase Alaska for  $7.2 million, which would  be $112.2 million                                                               
in 2017.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:19:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[MR. ZEPP  turned to  Slide 4 of  the PowerPoint,  titled "Alaska                                                               
Highway  - 'The  Road to  Civil Rights,'"  and played  a National                                                               
Park Service video on the building of the Alaskan Highway.]                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:23:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ZEPP  expressed  his  appreciation   to  the  National  Park                                                               
Service, U.S. Department of Interior, for the video.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ZEPP  referred to  Slide  5  and  relayed that  the  African                                                               
American   Army  regiments   that   built   the  Alaska   Highway                                                               
established a reputation for excellence,  especially in the field                                                               
of bridge  building; however, their accomplishments  were ignored                                                               
by the press  and mainstream media.  He said  it took decades for                                                               
these   soldiers  to   receive  proper   recognition  for   their                                                               
achievements.  He  added that some say they were  as legendary as                                                               
the Tuskegee Airmen and the Buffalo Soldiers.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. ZEPP mentioned  that the Sikanni Chief  River Bridge building                                                               
project,  shown in  the video,  was amazing  because the  African                                                               
American soldiers  worked with hand  tools -  saws and axes  - to                                                               
drive pilings  into the  riverbed, to fell  spruce trees,  and to                                                               
sawmill the  trees into  planks, boards, and  pilings.   He added                                                               
that the project was finished in record time.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:24:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
MR.ZEPP turned  to Slide  6, titled "Why  the recognition  of the                                                               
African American Soldiers?" and  said, "It's about the historical                                                               
context."   He stated  that race relations  in America  were very                                                               
different  in 1942.   Opportunities  for  African Americans  were                                                               
rare,  and   expectations  were  low.     He  said   that  racial                                                               
segregation   existed  in   housing,  medical   care,  education,                                                               
employment,  and transportation,  and social  segregation existed                                                               
regarding restaurants, drinking fountains, and bathrooms.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ZEPP related  that the  documentary, titled  Alaska at  War,                                                             
describes Alaska's  role in World  War II, including  the opening                                                               
of  oil  fields,  the  Japanese  bombing  of  Dutch  Harbor,  the                                                               
struggle   to   recapture   the  Aleutians   Islands,   and   the                                                               
construction of the highway.   He mentioned that Eugene Long, who                                                               
was enlisted in the 95th  Engineer Regiment deployed to Alaska to                                                               
assist in  building the  Alaska Highway,  said, "Not  one African                                                               
American soldier was shown in the movie."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. ZEPP  relayed that  the bestselling book  on the  building of                                                               
the Alaska Highway,  titled The Trail of 1942,  has three photos,                                                             
taken  at a  distance, of  African American  Soldiers out  of 178                                                               
photos,  or  1.6  percent,  even   though  the  African  American                                                               
soldiers represented one-third of the troops.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:25:42 PM                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
MR. ZEPP referred to Slide 7, also titled "Why the                                                                              
recognition of  the African American Soldiers?"  and relayed                                                                    
the timeline for the safeguards of civil rights as follows:                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     In 1865,  the 13th  Amendment to the  U.S. Constitution                                                                    
     abolished slavery and involuntary  servitude.  In 1868,                                                                    
     the  14th Amendment  to the  U.S. Constitution  granted                                                                    
     U.S. citizenship to  former slaves.  In  1870, the 15th                                                                    
     Amendment  to the  U.S.  Constitution provided  African                                                                    
     American [men] the  right to vote.  In  1875, the Civil                                                                    
     Rights  Act of  1875  was passed,  which forbid  racial                                                                    
     segregation in accommodations.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     However in  1896, the U.S. Supreme  Court sustained the                                                                    
     constitutionality   of  Louisiana's   requirement  that                                                                    
     railroad   companies  provide   "separate  but   equal"                                                                    
     accommodations for  white and  black passengers.   Over                                                                    
     the  next 25-35  years,  equality  in racial  relations                                                                    
     progress  was  lost, particularly  in  the  South.   By                                                                    
     1910,  segregation was  firmly  established across  the                                                                    
     South and most of the border region.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     In  1954, legal  segregation in  schools was  banned in                                                                    
     the U.S. after a series  of rulings in the U.S. Supreme                                                                    
     Court.    And  in  1964, all  legally  enforced  public                                                                    
     segregation was abolished by the Civil Rights Act.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The   U.S.  War   Department's  tradition   and  policy                                                                    
     mandated  the segregation  of  African American  troops                                                                    
     into separate units led by  white officers.  During the                                                                    
     construction  of the  Alaska Highway,  African American                                                                    
     troops were  ordered not to  leave camp and  not mingle                                                                    
     with  the  locals, while  the  whites  were allowed  to                                                                    
     mingle.   They were  treated unequally, and  yet defied                                                                    
     expectations  in   many  situations  with   even  fewer                                                                    
     resources.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:27:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ZEPP  reiterated, "It's  about the  historical context."   He                                                               
referred to  Slide 8,  again titled "Why  the recognition  of the                                                               
African  American  Soldiers?"    He said  that  little  press  or                                                               
mainstream media has been given  to the African American soldiers                                                               
for these  efforts.   He relayed  examples of  the lack  of press                                                               
coverage of the African American troops as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The National Archives contains only  a few dozen photos                                                                  
     among  the   hundreds  taken  of  the   Alaska  Highway                                                                    
     construction.   African Americans were edited  out of a                                                                    
     1991  National  Geographic   feature  on  the  highway,                                                                  
     despite the fact that  the magazine obtained interviews                                                                    
     of seven  men who  served building the  Alaska Highway.                                                                    
     A souvenir  booklet, the Alaska Highway,  Armed Service                                                                  
     Forces published  in 1944 includes 100  photos but only                                                                  
     one of an African American  soldier.  The official 759-                                                                    
     page  U.S. Army  history of  [the] Corp  covers African                                                                    
     American   troop  involvement   with  a   one  sentence                                                                    
     footnote.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. ZEPP maintained  that the African American  soldiers not only                                                               
helped  build  the  Alaska Highway,  but  their  performance  and                                                               
efforts helped  change the course  of discrimination  in America.                                                               
He referred to  Slide 9, also titled "Why the  recognition of the                                                               
African American  Soldiers?"  He  said that the  African American                                                               
soldiers' contributions  during World War II  influenced American                                                               
leaders,  and this  point  in history  was  considered a  turning                                                               
point in  race relations in  America.   He relayed that  by 1948,                                                               
President Harry Truman  signed into law a  desegregation plan for                                                               
the armed services.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. ZEPP  mentioned that after  seeing Ms. Lael  Morgan's exhibit                                                               
in Fairbanks in 1992, Colin  Powell, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs                                                               
of Staff,  stated, "I  had no  idea black  men had  done anything                                                               
like this.   They are deserving of recognition."   Mr. Zepp added                                                               
that Douglas  Brinley, a Rice University  historian, stated, "The                                                               
Alaska Highway  was not only the  greatest feat of World  War II,                                                               
it was  a triumph over  racism."   Mr. Zepp quoted  General James                                                               
O'Connor speaking at the Alaska  Highway dedication, "Someday the                                                               
accomplishments  of  the  African American  troops,  achievements                                                               
accomplished  far from  home, will  occupy a  major place  in the                                                               
lore of the  North country."  Mr. Zepp added,  "And this happened                                                               
in Alaska."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:29:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[MR. ZEPP  played from slide 9  of the PowerPoint a  video of Mr.                                                               
Reginald Beverly  briefly describing his experience  as a soldier                                                               
in the 95th Engineer Regiment working on the Alaska Highway.]                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:30:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ZEPP relayed  that the  U.S. Army's  official assessment  at                                                               
this  time in  history was  that African  American soldiers  were                                                               
substandard  in  performance  and  literacy;  they  were  usually                                                               
delegated to  labor projects  and not sent  to the  battle front.                                                               
He related a  few examples of how African  American soldiers were                                                               
treated, as follows:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     General  Clarence  Sturdevant,  who was  apologetic  to                                                                    
     General Simon  Bolivar Buckner, Jr.,  who was  the head                                                                    
     of the US  Army in Alaska at that time  when he stated,                                                                    
     "I have heard that you  object to having colored troops                                                                    
     in  Alaska,  and we  have  attempted  to avoid  sending                                                                    
     them;  however,  we have  been  forced  to use  colored                                                                    
     regiments and  it seems  unwise for  diplomatic reasons                                                                    
     to use them in Canada,  since the Canadians also prefer                                                                    
     whites."   To placate  Gen. Buckner  Jr, it  was agreed                                                                    
     that  black  troops  would  not  be  allowed  near  any                                                                    
     Alaskan or Canadian settlements.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     There  was  also  a  concern  about  African  Americans                                                                    
     settling after the war, and  they would interbreed with                                                                    
     Indians  and  Eskimos   and  produce  an  astonishingly                                                                    
     objectionable race of mongrels.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     A  military study  from the  Army  War College  stated,                                                                    
     "The  Negro  is   careless,  shiftless,  irresponsible,                                                                    
     secretive,  he  is  best handled  with  praise  and  by                                                                    
     ridicule.  He is unmoved  and untruthful, and his sense                                                                    
     of right-doing is relatively inferior."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     A field  inspection noted during  63 degree  below zero                                                                    
     weather indicated  that the Big Delta's  black regiment                                                                    
     was  found  to be  living  in  wretched conditions  and                                                                    
     poorly supplied.   But things  started to  change after                                                                    
     the original  construction of the  Alaska Highway.   It                                                                    
     is believed  that the achievements and  the performance                                                                    
     of  the  African  American   troops  and  white  troops                                                                    
     working  together were  considered a  turning point  in                                                                    
     America's  race  relations.     And  this  happened  in                                                                    
     Alaska.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
MR. ZEPP asked for the committee's support for SB 46.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:32:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   BIRCH  expressed   his   appreciation  for   the                                                               
presentation  and  said he  was  happy  to support  the  proposed                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:33:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened public testimony on SB 46.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:33:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE  BOWEN,  Director,  Office   of  Veterans  Affairs  (OVA),                                                               
Department of  Military & Veterans' Affairs  (DMVA), testified in                                                               
support of SB 46.  He said that  the first time he learned of the                                                               
African American soldiers  who built the [Alaska]  Highway was as                                                               
a  young  man  in  Cape  Pole,  Alaska.    He  relayed  that  his                                                               
construction boss  was one  of the  soldiers who  had constructed                                                               
the highway.   Mr. Bowen mentioned that he assumed  this was part                                                               
of Alaskan  history education.   He said  that later in  life, he                                                               
read an  article in which  General Colin  Powell said he  did not                                                               
realize that any African American  soldiers worked on the highway                                                               
to Alaska.  Mr. Bowen offered  that he was surprised that General                                                               
Powell was  not aware  of this, since  one-third of  the soldiers                                                               
constructing the highway were African Americans.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN went on to  say that in considering the accomplishments                                                               
of  the   African  American  soldiers,   he  thought   about  the                                                               
conditions that they  lived under.  He said that  during the time                                                               
they built the road, they were  not allowed to leave, not allowed                                                               
into  the  communities,  and  not  allowed time  to  relax.    He                                                               
asserted that they  had great adversities to overcome.   They did                                                               
not  have  mechanized   equipment.    He  said   that  what  they                                                               
accomplished  with what  they had  proved to  those in  authority                                                               
that not  only were they  equal to the  soldiers who had  all the                                                               
equipment, they were much better.   He said that he can't imagine                                                               
building  a bridge  over a  river with  just hand  tools and  not                                                               
having the  ability to plane planks  or use a pile  driver to put                                                               
holding beams into the water.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOWEN  concluded  that  naming   October  25th  after  those                                                               
soldiers,  who went  through that  adversity,  would ensure  that                                                               
youth  would be  aware of  this history.   He  offered that  this                                                               
event was a  huge factor in the execution of  the Executive Order                                                               
[Executive  Order 9981:  Desegregation  of the  Armed Forces]  of                                                               
1948.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:37:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK FISH testified in opposition to SB 46.   He relayed that his                                                               
grandfather, James  D. Fish,  worked on  the construction  of the                                                               
Alaska Highway.  He said that  the story of the Alaska Highway is                                                               
how a  divided and segregated nation,  in a time of  great stress                                                               
and  danger,   worked  together   under  extreme   conditions  to                                                               
accomplish a  great thing in a  short period of time.   He stated                                                               
that  in the  proposed  legislation, the  contributions of  other                                                               
workers including  his grandfather  are being ignored  because of                                                               
the color  of their skin.   He asserted,  "We cannot make  up for                                                               
past injustice  by creating a  future injustice."   He emphasized                                                               
that  segregation was  not right  then, and  it is  not right  to                                                               
segregate workers  now by  way of the  proposed legislation.   He                                                               
maintained   that   all    workers'   contributions   should   be                                                               
commemorated.   He  quoted from  the  PBS website  on the  Alaska                                                               
Highway  construction, which  read, "Regardless  of race  issues,                                                               
the  War   Department's  plan  required  enormous   efforts  from                                                               
everyone who  worked on the  highway.  The grueling  schedule and                                                               
extreme conditions were a tremendous challenge."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. FISH said that from  his grandfather's stories, the equipment                                                               
was not new but was second and  third rate, and some was from the                                                               
'20s.  He said that everyone  who worked on the highway shared in                                                               
the  conditions;  the mosquitos  didn't  know  the color  of  the                                                               
person whose blood they were sucking.   He relayed that there was                                                               
very little  sanitation.  He  added there  was not much  time off                                                               
for anyone  to go into town  after a 16-hour shift,  as they were                                                               
in the  middle of the Yukon  wilderness.  He maintained  that all                                                               
veterans who  worked on the  highway have a  lot for which  to be                                                               
proud.    He  said,  "Instead   of  celebrating  segregation  and                                                               
division, we should celebrate a  day without division and call it                                                               
the  Alaska Highway  Day."   He  maintained that  doing so  would                                                               
focus  on  all  who  participated and  not  prevent  anyone  from                                                               
observing their  own people's contributions.   He asked  that the                                                               
proposed legislation be amended to  read "Alaska Highway Day" and                                                               
that corresponding changes be made to the bill language.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:40:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CLAUDIA  ROLLINS paraphrased  from her  written testimony,  which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     My  name  is  Claudia  Beverly Rollins  and  I  am  the                                                                    
     daughter of  Mr. Reginald Beverly  who lives  in Ruther                                                                    
     Glen,  Virginia. My  dad  is one  of  over 4,000  black                                                                    
     soldiers who  built the Alaska  Highway in 1942.  He is                                                                    
     now  102  years old.  Throughout  my  lifetime, he  has                                                                    
     shared many of his experiences with my sisters and me.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     When  he went  to build  the Alaska  Highway, he  was a                                                                    
     rarity  because   he  was  a   black  recruit   with  a                                                                    
     university degree. He said, "I  was drafted December 5,                                                                    
     1941,  two  days before  Pearl  Harbor.  I was  a  high                                                                    
     school math teacher.  Once drafted, I only  had time to                                                                    
     report to school the next  morning, call the class roll                                                                    
     and bid  my students  and administration  goodbye. From                                                                    
     there, I traveled two miles  to Bowling Green, Virginia                                                                    
     to catch the  bus to go to Fort Meade,  Maryland. I was                                                                    
     twenty-six years old."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     My Dad, Mr. Beverly had  received a Bachelor of Science                                                                    
     Degree  from  Virginia  State University,  one  of  the                                                                    
     first fully  state-supported four-year  institutions of                                                                    
     higher learning for blacks in  America. He was assigned                                                                    
     to the 95th Regiment.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:42:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     While  serving  in  Alaska  as  a  regimental  surveyor                                                                    
     building the  Alcan Highway, Mr. Beverly  had to endure                                                                    
     the  treacherous weather  while  living in  substandard                                                                    
     conditions   such  as   living   in   tents  with   ice                                                                    
     approximately one inch thick  on the inside while white                                                                    
     soldiers lived in actual buildings.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     During  this  time,  while instructing  other  soldiers                                                                    
     using   his   surveying    skills   and   sophisticated                                                                    
     instruments,  Mr. Beverly  had no  stripes while  white                                                                    
     soldiers  that he  was instructing  wore strips  [sic].                                                                    
     When  a  Colonel  Thompson   saw  Sargent  Beverly  and                                                                    
     observed that he [sic] no  stripes, he said, "Give that                                                                    
     man  some  stripes!"  Mr.  Beverly  said  stripes  were                                                                    
     delivered to him on the very next morning!                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     I do  approve Senate  Bill 46. I  support this  Bill to                                                                    
     recognize   the  contributions   of  African   American                                                                    
     Soldiers  who  worked  extremely   hard  on  the  Alcan                                                                    
     Highway and completed this task  in record time! I also                                                                    
     support making  October 25th of each  year the official                                                                    
     "Alaska African  American History  Soldier Contribution                                                                    
     Day."  This day  is befitting  since this  was the  day                                                                    
     that  a Black  Soldier  and white  soldier shook  hands                                                                    
     upon completion of such a tremendous project!                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you Gary Zepp and  Legislators for giving me this                                                                    
     opportunity  to  communicate  with you  in  support  of                                                                    
     Senate Bill 46.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:45:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REGINALD  BEVERLY expressed  his  appreciation  for the  proposed                                                               
legislation honoring the African  American soldiers who worked on                                                               
the Alcan Highway.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:46:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LEONARD  LARKIN testified  that  he entered  military service  on                                                               
April  12, 1941,  and enlisted  for one  year.   He relayed  that                                                               
after  [the bombing  of]  Pearl Harbor,  he had  to  stay in  the                                                               
service.   He  said he  was sent  to serve  in the  93rd Engineer                                                               
Regiment in  Alaska to  work on the  ALCAN Highway,  which lasted                                                               
about  one year.    He related  that the  soldiers  did not  have                                                               
enough tools -  picks, shovels, and bulldozers; much  of the work                                                               
had  to be  done by  hand.   He  said  the weather  was cold  and                                                               
"sloppy," and there were mosquitos.   He added that the men had a                                                               
difficult time  working.  He  stated that they were  mostly black                                                               
men, and the few officers in charge of them were white men.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:48:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BERT  LARKIN testified  that Leonard  Larkin is  his father.   He                                                               
said he heard  many stories over the years from  his father about                                                               
his experiences on the Alcan Highway.   He relayed that he always                                                               
tried to  research what his father  told him, but he  never found                                                               
anything written about it.  He  said, "That's what makes this all                                                               
so important;  that the  story be told  about these  soldiers who                                                               
overcame adversity, racism,  and hard work."   He reiterated that                                                               
he and his father both  support establishing a day of recognition                                                               
and the passage of SB 46.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:49:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEAN POLLARD,  Chair, Alaska Highway Project,  testified that the                                                               
intent of  the Alaska  Highway Project is  not to  change history                                                               
but to  acknowledge history.   She maintained that there  were no                                                               
white soldiers  building the highway;  there were  white officers                                                               
supervising  the black  soldiers; and  there were  civilians, not                                                               
military, who  came to Alaska to  pave the highway.   She related                                                               
that as an educator, she will  be teaching a class with two other                                                               
teachers, which  will be put  into the Alaska  Studies curriculum                                                               
so that this history will not be  forgotten.  The class will be a                                                               
required course  and shared  in other  Alaskan communities.   She                                                               
maintained that  many people have  not heard this story;  she has                                                               
talked with  many educators  who have not  heard this  story; she                                                               
herself  has a  minor in  history from  the University  of Alaska                                                               
Anchorage (UAA)  and had not heard  it.  She asserted  that it is                                                               
important to ensure  that the next generation will hear  it.  She                                                               
said  she  supports  SB  46  and mentioned  that  there  will  be                                                               
celebration events all over the state.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  thanked  Ms.  Pollard  for  her  tireless                                                               
advocacy for SB 46.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:53:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELLIOT  ROSS testified  that he  has recently  been appointed  as                                                               
Fort  Greely's  chair  in  the  efforts  to  celebrate  the  75th                                                               
anniversary of  the completion of the  Alaska-Canadian Highway as                                                               
well as the Lend-Lease Policy ["An  Act to promote the Defense of                                                               
the United States"] for Allen Army  Airfield.  He stated that the                                                               
proposed  legislation   and  related  events  are   a  tremendous                                                               
opportunity for  Alaska to recognize  significant accomplishments                                                               
of African Americans  in connecting Alaska with the  Lower 48 and                                                               
Canada.  He  relayed that he, as a young  African American living                                                               
in  Delta  Junction,  had  no   idea  of  this  history,  and  as                                                               
chairperson, has  learned so  much more  of the  contribution [of                                                               
the  African  American  soldiers].    He  said  he  is  a  strong                                                               
supporter of  SB 46 and  believes that everyone, no  matter their                                                               
demographic, will benefit from the education that will come                                                                     
because of the proposed legislation.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:56:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CEYLON MITCHELL paraphrased from his written testimony, which                                                                   
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Hello  Mr. Zepp,  my name  is Ceylon  Mitchell. I  am a                                                                    
     retired  veteran of  the United  States  Air Force  and                                                                    
     with  my  family  we  have  lived  in  Anchorage  since                                                                    
     September  1992. I  am calling  in as  a proud  Alaskan                                                                    
     because my  Father was one  of the 4,000  Patriot [sic]                                                                    
     Black Soldiers  that helped  build the  Alaska Highway.                                                                    
     My  Father was  Tec 5  James A.  Mitchell. He  was from                                                                    
     Suffolk,  Virginia  and  arrived   and  worked  on  the                                                                    
     Canadian  sector  of  the  Highway   in  1942.  He  was                                                                    
     assigned  to  the  93rd  General  Services  Reg.  which                                                                    
     worked  from the  Canadian sector  going  North to  the                                                                    
     Regiments that  connected the Alaska Sector.  After the                                                                    
     93rd  completed their  work on  the  Highway they  were                                                                    
     assigned  to the  Aleutian Islands  to help  remove the                                                                    
     Japanese that had taken over part of the islands.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     I am  proud of  SB 46  because it is  one way  that the                                                                    
     Soldiers  may  be  honored for  their  work  that  they                                                                    
     performed  in  the War  affords  [sic].  There is  very                                                                    
     little written  in the history  books about  their work                                                                    
     in  Alaska because  the military  was segregated,  they                                                                    
     were  not allowed  in the  villages and  they were  not                                                                    
     wanted  here, but  their labor  was needed.  Because of                                                                    
     their work they are [a  part of] America (sic) History,                                                                    
     Black History  and Alaska History. The  building of the                                                                    
     Highway was  not only a  major contribution to  the war                                                                    
     affords [sic], but  also a major factor  in the defense                                                                    
     of Alaska and  its future. This is a new  day and there                                                                    
     is  enough positive  history of  Alaska to  share. Just                                                                    
     think  if it  were not  for  the Highway  we all  maybe                                                                    
     speaking Japanese  at this  time. Have  a good  day and                                                                    
     God Bless your work.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:59:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LIONEL  MAYBIN testified  that he  is retired  from the  U.S. Air                                                               
Force after  having served  24 years.   He stated  that he  is an                                                               
educator and  a community leader helping  children be successful.                                                               
He  stressed the  importance  of public  awareness  of the  major                                                               
contribution  of the  African American  in helping  to build  the                                                               
Alaska Highway.   He maintained  that this  knowledge contributes                                                               
to the  pride and  respect of  being American  and being  part of                                                               
building America.   He  said that  as an  educator, if  you don't                                                               
give  African Americans  respect  for what  their ancestors  have                                                               
done - being  a major contributor to building this  country - you                                                               
lessen their self-worth.  He  maintained that when he teaches, he                                                               
gives credit where it is due through the truth being told.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAYBIN   referred  to  the  three   African  American  women                                                               
portrayed in the movie, Hidden  Figures, and the significant role                                                             
they played in  sending a man [into space],  a contribution which                                                               
was largely  unknown.  He asserted  that the more we  share these                                                               
truths and  the more we give  credit, the more people  feel self-                                                               
worth and  the better we  become as a society.   He said  that he                                                               
believes that  his ancestors deserve  respect for what  they have                                                               
contributed, just  as he  deserves respect  for having  served in                                                               
the military for 24 years.  He  stated that he supports SB 46 and                                                               
believes  October 25  will  be  a great  day  of celebration  for                                                               
Alaskans and Americans.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:03:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHALA DOBSON, Alaska Highway Memorial  Project, testified that he                                                               
wholeheartedly  supported SB  46,  which  would celebrate  always                                                               
Alaska Highway  Day on October 25.   He stated that  the proposed                                                               
legislation  would give  honored  recognition both  to the  Black                                                               
Army  Engineers  who  built  the Alaska  section  of  the  Alaska                                                               
Highway and  to the meeting  of the  black troops with  the white                                                               
troops at Contact Creek on October 25.   He said that as a member                                                               
of the Alaska Highway Project, he  believed that SB 46 would help                                                               
bring  this  important  story  of   our  Alaska  history  to  the                                                               
forefront.    He  maintained  that  the  complete  story  of  the                                                               
building of the Alaska Highway needs to be publicized.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:04:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS closed public testimony on SB 46.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH   referred  to   the  recognition   of  the                                                               
contributions  of  the  African  American  community  to  Alaska,                                                               
submitted  by  U.S. Senator  Dan  Sullivan  and included  in  the                                                               
committee packet.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  stated  that  she  supports  SB  46  and                                                               
believes that it  is a great story of Alaska  that deserves to be                                                               
told.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  concurred with  Representative  Johnson's                                                               
remarks  and  thanked  all  who   have  worked  on  the  proposed                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  expressed his  support for  highlighting and                                                               
recognizing the  "heroes left  behind" in  history so  that their                                                               
contributions will never be forgotten.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:06:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX moved  to report  SB 46  out of  committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection  SB 46 was reported  from House                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB46 - Letter of Support - McClures 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 ver A 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB46 - Letter of support - Mr. Reginald Beverly 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB46 - LOS - Lael Morgan 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB46 - October 25th – African American Soldiers - 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB46 letter of support - AK Veterans Foundation 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Fiscal Note DMVA 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 List of Testifiers - House State Affairs Committee 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Sectional Analysis ver A 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Senator Sullivan's Support 3.8.17.jpeg HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Sponsor Statement ver A 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
Alaska Highway Day SB46.msg HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
letter of support and SB 46 supplemental material (1).msg HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
letter of support and SB 46 supplemental material.msg HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
HB163 Speaker Edgmon Contracts for Troopers Services Transmittal Letter 03.07.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB 163 Sectional Analysis 3.9.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB163 ver A 3.9.17.PDF HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB0163 Fiscal Note ADM 3.9.17.PDF HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB0163 Fiscal Note DPS 3.9.17.PDF HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
HB001 Draft Proposed Amendment D.1 3.7.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 1
HB094 Sponsor Statement 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 94
HB094 ver 30-LS0275-A 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 94
HB094 Supporting Document 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 94
HB094 Fiscal Note 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 94
SB 46 - LOS - Katrina Gill Beverly - 3.20.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 - LOS - Ceylon Mitchell - 3.20.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
SB 46 Letter of Support Paula Perry 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
HB163 Letter of Support 3.18.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 163
SB046 Letter of Support,Thanks 3.22.17.pdf HSTA 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46