Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/05/2004 02:08 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
        SB 385-SECURITY;DIV. HOMELAND SECURITY/EMER. MGT                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
The committee took up SB 385.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON said  he understands  that in  response to  terrorism                                                              
threats,  the governor  has issued  an  executive proclamation  to                                                              
coordinate  activities, the  administration has  prepared a  house                                                              
bill, and the HES committee has sponsored SB 385.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DAVID  LIEBERSBACH,  acting assistant  commissioner  for  the                                                              
Office  of  Homeland   Security  and  Emergency   Management,  and                                                              
Director of the  Alaska Division of Emergency Services  within the                                                              
Department of Military  and Veteran's Affairs, testified  that the                                                              
primary  purpose  of SB  385  is to  revise  AS 26.20,  a  statute                                                              
enacted  in  1951,  and  to  update  it  to  reflect  the  current                                                              
situation  with homeland  security.   For  the  most part,  "civil                                                              
defense"  references   in  existing   statute  will   now  reflect                                                              
"homeland security  and civil defense."  This bill  is not related                                                              
to the federal Patriot  Act, but is a result of  Alaska needing to                                                              
include  homeland  security.   Mr.  Liebersbach explained  SB  385                                                              
would consolidate  the Division of Homeland Security  and Division                                                              
of Emergency  Services, and  eliminate the  position of  assistant                                                              
commissioner  (his position); there  would be  one instead  of two                                                              
directors.  There  is  a  zero fiscal  note,  and  if  successful,                                                              
$100,000 would be given back.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LIEBERSBACH  referenced  AS  26.20,  and said  SB  385  would                                                              
repeal obsolete provisions,  and gave the following  examples:  1)                                                              
authorizing  the establishment  of local  organizations for  civil                                                              
defense,  with authority  to issue orders  and adopt  regulations;                                                              
2)  giving civil  defense orders  and regulations  adopted by  the                                                              
governor, DMVA,  local districts,  and other authorized  agencies,                                                              
the  "effect  of law;"  3)  automatically  suspending  conflicting                                                              
laws,  ordinances   or  regulations;  4)  directing   the  federal                                                              
government  and local  law enforcement  to  enforce civil  defense                                                              
orders  and   regulations;  and   5)  prohibiting  civil   defense                                                              
organizations  from   participating  in  any  form   of  political                                                              
activity.    SB   385  would  also  formalize   the  combining  of                                                              
personnel  from  the  Division of  Emergency  Services  and  DMVA;                                                              
Alaska's  homeland  security issues  will  be coordinated  by  the                                                              
DMVA.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON noted  that  concerns have  been  expressed by  other                                                              
divisions/departments  such as DPS,  DEC, and [DOT&PF],  and asked                                                              
Mr. Liebersbach to comment.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LIEBERSBACH  replied the  solutions  to those  concerns  have                                                              
been incorporated  into the final draft  of SB 385.   "Direct" has                                                              
been  modified  to   "coordinate,"  so  that  DMVA   will  not  be                                                              
directing   personnel   of  other   agencies   without   expressed                                                              
authorization   for  delegation   by  the   governor,  as   "these                                                              
departments are  all directed  by the governor."   There  was also                                                              
concern about  DPS authority to  establish roadblocks.   DMVA will                                                              
only  assist   in  manning  or   taking  care  of   roadblocks  in                                                              
consultation  with DOT&PF  and  DPS.   There  are instances  where                                                              
National  Guard  personnel  or  state  defense  forces  can  staff                                                              
roadblocks,  since troopers  don't have that  capability.   During                                                              
the holiday season  in Valdez, this was done  to provide personnel                                                              
to staff roadblocks during a heightened security situation.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked  Mr. Liebersbach about other  concerns DPS might                                                              
have.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-19, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked if DPS was aware of the meeting today.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. WES KELLER,  staff to Chair Dyson, responded DPS  was aware of                                                              
this  meeting;  he was  not  sure if  [DOT&PF]  was  aware of  the                                                              
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. LIEBERSBACH  said concerns of  DEC, DOT&PF, and DPS  were with                                                              
the oversight  of homeland  security planning,  and the  directing                                                              
of  plans  by  those  agencies.   That  language  was  revised  to                                                              
"coordinating the plans" rather than "directing them."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  referred  to  the  deletion  of  "districts  of  the                                                              
state,"  and   asked  if  this   was  in  reference   to  judicial                                                              
districts.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. LIEBERSBACH  said he didn't  know but  would find out.   Every                                                              
agency of the  state has districts or regions  that are different;                                                              
they  recognize   political  subdivisions   and  local   political                                                              
authority.  He  said he  didn't  know  of existing  civil  defense                                                              
districts currently in use.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  referenced p.2,  lines  26  and 27,  and  considered                                                              
including  British Columbia  (B.C.) and the  Yukon Territory,  but                                                              
said  this may  already be  covered in  paragraph (3).   He  asked                                                              
about  Mr. Liebersbach's  reference  to training  a state  defense                                                              
force to be  military police. At  the end of that process,  if the                                                              
governor  declares an  emergency,  some police  powers  - such  as                                                              
arrest - would be involved; he asked if this was correct.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHN  CRAMER, Director,  Division of Administrative  Services,                                                              
Department  of Military and  Veteran's Affairs,  said he  believes                                                              
the  volunteers would  not  have arresting  powers,  but would  be                                                              
utilized and  activated during times  of disaster or crises.   The                                                              
training process  includes a military police-type  academy, and at                                                              
the end of that training, they are considered to be constables.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LIEBERSBACH  added  that before  being  certified,  there  is                                                              
orientation  and oversight  from  the state  troopers.   Generally                                                              
those people  work in conjunction  with either local or  state law                                                              
enforcement  so  someone  from those  agencies  is  supporting  or                                                              
working with them.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  asked  about  concern that  this  had  an  intrusive                                                              
Patriot Act aspect.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CRAMER explained  that  earlier iterations  of  HB 185  (from                                                              
last year)  included provisions  in proposed  language that  would                                                              
have  allowed  the  Division  of  Homeland  Security  to  exercise                                                              
certain  powers.   Some  of  those  had  to do  with  confiscating                                                              
certain assets or  equipment; that language has been  taken out of                                                              
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked  if there was a provision in state  law, or this                                                              
bill,  providing  that  if  equipment   in  private  ownership  is                                                              
needed, it could  be commandeered for public purpose  for a period                                                              
of time.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CRAMER said  he  believes that  assumption  is correct,  that                                                              
existing  law  allows for  the  state,  in certain  instances,  to                                                              
acquire personal  property,  and there must  be fair  compensation                                                              
for its  use.   He said  he didn't  believe this  was included  in                                                              
this legislation.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  read from  page 7,  line 29, as  follows:   "plan and                                                              
make  arrangements  for  the  availability   and  use  of  private                                                              
facilities,  services,  and  property and,  if  necessary..."  and                                                              
asked if  "property" included, not  only real estate, but  also an                                                              
airplane, boat,  or dump  truck.   He suggested possibly  defining                                                              
"property" to include  other useful equipment.   He also suggested                                                              
that  -  throughout  the  bill -  the  use  of  "coordination"  of                                                              
federal, state,  local and private  agencies, also  include cross-                                                              
border coordination, "to work with our neighbors."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. LIEBERSBACH  said under AS  26.23, the governor  has authority                                                              
to  enter   into  compacts   with  other   states  and   bordering                                                              
provinces.    Under   that  authority,  recognized   by  the  U.S.                                                              
Congress,   Alaska  entered   into  a  compact   with  the   Yukon                                                              
Territory, British  Columbia, Washington,  Oregon, and  Idaho, for                                                              
exactly  this type  of  work.   He  added,  "We could  bring  that                                                              
forward."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON said,  "Only if you think it is necessary."   He noted                                                              
Idaho  and Montana  have been working  with B.C.  and Alberta  and                                                              
have  addressed  practicalities  such as  firefighting  equipment,                                                              
air  fuel capacity,  equipment  and personnel  compatibility,  and                                                              
border crossing documentation.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LIEBERSBACH said  a homeland  security  exercise was  already                                                              
scheduled for September  with the Yukon Territory,  but they could                                                              
look into this issue further.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON announced  SB 385 would  be held  in committee  until                                                              
Wednesday.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. AL STOREY, Division of State Troopers, testified they had                                                                   
not yet seen a copy of SB 385, and would get back with the                                                                      
committee later in the week.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked that the commissioner be notified that most of                                                                
his concerns had been addressed.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business to come before the committee, he                                                                
adjourned the meeting at 3:12 p.m.                                                                                              

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