Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

04/20/2017 03:00 PM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 235(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
                    HB 235-NORTH STAR MEDAL                                                                                 
3:09:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that the first  order of business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  BILL NO.  235 "An  Act creating  the North  Star                                                               
3:10:26 PM                                                                                                                    
JAKE  METCALFE,  Executive   Director,  Public  Safety  Employees                                                               
Association  (PSEA)  Local 803,  testified  that  PSEA Local  803                                                               
represents  800  state   municipal  police  department  employees                                                               
working throughout  Alaska; membership includes the  Alaska State                                                               
Troopers (AST),  Anchorage and Fairbanks airport  police officers                                                               
and  firefighters, Alaska  Court  System  (ACS) officers,  Alaska                                                               
deputy fire  marshals, and  Ketchikan, Sitka,  Juneau, Fairbanks,                                                               
Soldotna, Dillingham,  and Unalaska police  department employees.                                                               
He mentioned  that many  PSEA members are  trained as  Search and                                                               
Rescue (SAR) professionals.                                                                                                     
MR.  METCALFE  relayed   that  in  the  past   four  years,  PSEA                                                               
tragically  lost  four members  in  acts  of valor  and  heroism:                                                               
trooper Tage  Toll died  in a helicopter  accident in  March 2013                                                               
rescuing  a stranded  snowmobiler; long  time AST  troopers Scott                                                               
Johnson and  Gabe Rich were  murdered in May 2014  protecting the                                                               
people  of  Tanana, Alaska;  and  Sergeant  Allen Brandt  of  the                                                               
Fairbanks Police Department  (FPD) lost his life  in October 2016                                                               
protecting  the people  of Fairbanks.   He  stated that  prior to                                                               
2013, PSEA lost  other members in similar tragic  situations.  He                                                               
said that over  time, Alaska has lost many police  and fire first                                                               
responder heroes.                                                                                                               
MR. METCALFE offered his support  for recognizing the bravery and                                                               
valor of  Alaska's lost heroes through  the proposed legislation.                                                               
He asserted  that all  four officers he  mentioned had  in common                                                               
the  fact  that  they  ran  toward danger  to  help  and  protect                                                               
Alaskans.    He  maintained  that other  Alaska  peace  officers,                                                               
firefighters,  emergency  medical  technicians  (EMTs),  and  SAR                                                               
professionals demonstrate the same  duty and responsibility every                                                               
day.  Their acts of bravery,  valor, and service for their fellow                                                               
citizens deserve recognition and honor.   He expressed his belief                                                               
that  the proposed  legislation would  convey that  honor to  the                                                               
surviving  spouse,  the  survivors, coworkers,  and  citizens  of                                                               
3:13:57 PM                                                                                                                    
BRANDY  JOHNSON testified  that her  husband, Scott  Johnson, was                                                               
murdered on May  1, 2014, while in the performance  of his job as                                                               
Sergeant  with AST.   She  shared that  after Scott's  death, she                                                               
received many great  gifts but was perplexed about  how each gift                                                               
was to  help her with  her grief.  She  offered that she  came to                                                               
realize that  most of these  gifts brought comfort to  the givers                                                               
and  some brought  comfort to  her  family; and  she became  more                                                               
accepting  of the  gifts  and  glad that  she  was helping  other                                                               
people with  their grief.   She stated that  on the urn  with her                                                               
husband's ashes,  sits the Alaska  state flag.  She  said, "These                                                               
are some of the most cherished  items nobody wants to have."  She                                                               
maintained that  over time one  realizes the  thoughtfulness that                                                               
went into the gifts and honors.                                                                                                 
MS. JOHNSON  stated that the  most important action by  the state                                                               
is to  take care  of the  officer's surviving  family; it  is the                                                               
fiduciary duty  of the state  after the ultimate sacrifice.   She                                                               
maintained that if providing the  surviving family and/or officer                                                               
with a medal  to recognize that officer's  oath and extraordinary                                                               
efforts  on  behalf of  the  State  of  Alaska brings  one  small                                                               
measure  of comfort,  then she  supports the  idea.   Ms. Johnson                                                               
offered  to  recommend  a  process   to  the  committee  and  the                                                               
Commissioner of the  Department of Public Safety  (DPS) on proper                                                               
presentation of  the North Star  Medal to next  of kin if  HB 235                                                               
becomes law.                                                                                                                    
3:16:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS,  after ascertaining  that there was  no one                                                               
else who wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 235.                                                                  
3:17:09 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHANIE   GILARDI,  Staff,   Representative  Jonathan   Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins, Alaska  State Legislature, presented Amendment  1, which                                                               
     Page 1, line 5, following "officer,":                                                                                      
          Insert "correctional officer,"                                                                                        
MS.  GILARDI stated  that Amendment  1 is  a technical  amendment                                                               
being offered  by the bill's  sponsor upon advice  of Legislative                                                               
Legal and Research  Services.  She relayed that the  intent is to                                                               
include  correctional  officers in  the  group  eligible for  the                                                               
North  Star Medal.   Because  correctional officers  are included                                                               
only in the Title 39 definition  of peace officers and not in the                                                               
Title 1  definition of peace officers,  the forthcoming amendment                                                               
would clear up any confusion  by listing correctional officers in                                                               
HB 235, thereby making their inclusion explicit.                                                                                
3:17:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON moved to adopt Amendment 1, labeled 30-                                                                
LS0816\D.1,  Martin,   4/18/17.     There  being   no  objection,                                                               
Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                        
3:18:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  relayed  that   through  contact  with  the                                                               
Department  of Military  & Veterans'  Affairs  (DMVA) he  learned                                                               
that  DMVA has  15  different  ways of  honoring  members of  the                                                               
organized militia  of the  State of Alaska.   He  maintained that                                                               
the proposed legislation would create  a "Purple Heart" for state                                                               
rescuers  and  first responders.    He  asked  if there  was  any                                                               
limitation on the definition of "first responder."                                                                              
3:20:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GILARDI  replied that  she understood  this group  to include                                                               
law enforcement, SAR,  and EMTs but does not know  if it includes                                                               
any individual who might respond.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  referred  to the  Automatic  Identification                                                               
System (AIS) tracking system described  during a [Marine Exchange                                                               
of Alaska (MXAK)] presentation in  the House Special Committee On                                                               
Arctic  Policy (4/20/17).   Using  this system,  a vessel  in the                                                               
vicinity could be notified and come  to the rescue of a vessel in                                                               
distress, even though  the rescuing vessel is not  the U.S. Coast                                                               
Guard (USCG)  or AST.   He asked if  the committee wanted  to put                                                               
limitations  on  the  definition  of a  first  responder,  or  if                                                               
someone coming to the rescue  of another ship might be considered                                                               
a first responder under HB 235.                                                                                                 
3:21:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS suggested  that  the  definition of  "first                                                               
responder"  gives  the  commissioner  of  DPS  "wiggle  room"  to                                                               
include individuals  as needed.   He pointed out that  the Alaska                                                               
Medal  of  Heroism has  traditionally  been  awarded to  ordinary                                                               
Alaskans who insert themselves into  a situation in which someone                                                               
is in need;  in the past, that has been  the appropriate award in                                                               
such  a   scenario;  however,  the   commissioner  may   use  his                                                               
discretion under the proposed legislation.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK relayed a scenario:   a car hits a powerline;                                                               
first responders cannot remove the  person from the car until the                                                               
linemen  show  up  to  safely  remove the  energized  line.    He                                                               
expressed his  hope that the  proposed legislation  would include                                                               
the linemen in  the definition of first responders;  they are not                                                               
acting as "Good Samaritans" but it is their job.                                                                                
3:22:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  stated that  he supports HB  235.   He said                                                               
his inclination is  that the medal would be  more directed toward                                                               
the traditional  first responders -  firefighters and EMTs  - but                                                               
agrees there  should be flexibility  for the commissioner  of DPS                                                               
and  the  governor  to  use  their  discretion  in  choosing  the                                                               
3:23:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON moved to report  HB 235, as amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There being no  objection, CSHB
235(STA) was  reported out  of the  House State  Affairs Standing                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB011 Sponsor Statement 4.19.17.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB 011 Sectional Analysis - Corrected 4.19.17.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB0011A 4.19.17.PDF HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB011 Fiscal Note DOA 4.15.17.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB011 Additional Documents Workforce Profile Alaska Court System 4.19.17.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB011 Additional Documents 2016 Workforce Profile - Excerpts 4.19.17.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB011 Additional Documents - News Articles - Other State RIPs 4.19.17.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB011 Additional Documents - Court System One-Time RIP 2016 4.19.17.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB011 Additional Documents Legislative Research 2015 RIP.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB011 Additional Documents - NCSL RIP Bills.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 11
HB235 Letter of Support Brandy Johnson 4.20.17.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 235
HB 235 Letter of Support APOA 4.25.17.pdf HSTA 4/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 235