Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/19/2015 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
01:31:03 PM Start
01:32:07 PM Confirmation Hearings
01:36:31 PM SB58
02:39:45 PM SB71
02:42:14 PM SB2
02:54:21 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Board and Commission Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Board of Marital & Family Therapy
Occupational Safety & Health Review Board
Board of Psych. & Psych. Assoc. Examiners
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 71 Out of Committee
        SB   2-EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE: VETERAN & SPOUSES                                                                     
2:42:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   COSTELLO  reconvened   the  meeting   and  announced   the                                                              
consideration  of   SB  2.  "An   Act  relating  to   a  voluntary                                                              
preference for veterans  and for spouses and domestic  partners of                                                              
veterans by private employers."                                                                                                 
2:42:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BILL  WIELECHOWSKI, Sponsor  of  SB  2, introduced  SB  2                                                              
speaking to the following sponsor statement:                                                                                    
     Our  country  is  emerging  from a  decade  of  war  and                                                                   
     reducing  the  total  number  of combat  forces.  In  an                                                                   
     already  challenging  economic  climate, these  men  and                                                                   
     women  who have  honorable  served must  now make  their                                                                   
     case   that  the   skills  acquired   in  the   military                                                                   
     translate into civilian employment.                                                                                        
     Senate  Bill  2  permits  private  sector  employers  to                                                                   
     extend  a  hiring  preference  to  veterans,  and  their                                                                   
     spouse  or domestic  partner,  without violating  Alaska                                                                   
     Human  Rights  Law.  It  is   a  Department  of  Defense                                                                   
     priority  and  a  policy the  State  of  Alaska  already                                                                   
     permits in public sector hiring.                                                                                           
     This bill  expands opportunities  for veterans  and aims                                                                   
     to help  bring down  the unacceptably high  unemployment                                                                   
     rate  among  them.  It  also   gives  private  employers                                                                   
     greater flexibility in choosing to hire veterans.                                                                          
     As  the number  of veterans  in  the American  workforce                                                                   
     has increased  dramatically, supporting these  brave men                                                                   
     and women is  of the utmost importance. I  hope that you                                                                   
     will  join me  in helping  to make  the transition  back                                                                   
     into  civilian  life  a  smooth  one  for  our  military                                                                   
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  he  is unaware  of  any lawsuits  that                                                              
have  occurred over  this  hiring preference.  Alaska  has a  long                                                              
history of  being friendly  to veterans and  SB 2 is  another step                                                              
to show appreciation for the service of veterans.                                                                               
He  highlighted  that,  based  on   recent  legal  advice,  he  is                                                              
suggesting  several changes  to  the legislation  and submitted  a                                                              
proposed committee substitute that encompasses those changes.                                                                   
CHAIR COSTELLO asked  how many veteran are in Alaska  and how many                                                              
are unemployed.                                                                                                                 
2:45:32 PM                                                                                                                    
KALYSSA  MAILE, Staff,  Senator Bill  Wielechowski, reported  that                                                              
in Alaska  about one  person in  10 is a  veteran, which  is among                                                              
the highest  rate in  the nation. The  latest national  rates show                                                              
that  18   to  24   year  old  veterans   have  an   18.7  percent                                                              
unemployment  rate as compared  to 11.6  percent for  non-veterans                                                              
in the same age  cohort. Twenty-five to 34 year  old veterans have                                                              
a 7.4  percent unemployment  rate  versus a 5.7  percent rate  for                                                              
non-veterans. Across  the whole population, the  unemployment rate                                                              
for veterans is 5.7 percent versus 5.3 percent for non-veterans.                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS asked  why the bill includes spouses  and domestic                                                              
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   replied  the  proposed  CS   removes  both                                                              
spouses and domestic partners.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  COSTELLO  asked  what  groups   have  stated  or  submitted                                                              
written support for the legislation.                                                                                            
MS. MAILE said the  U.S. Department of Defense has  said this is a                                                              
priority  and  other  folks  have  stated  informal  support.  She                                                              
offered to  reach out more and  provide the letters of  support as                                                              
they come in.                                                                                                                   
2:48:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  SANSOUCE,   Regional  Representative,  U.S.   Department  of                                                              
Defense (DOD), Tacoma,  Washington, testified in support  of SB 2.                                                              
He said  he didn't  want to  be redundant,  but wanted  to clarify                                                              
that this  is a  voluntary effort.  Private sector companies  want                                                              
to  hire  veterans   because  of  their  unique   skill  sets  and                                                              
reliability,  but are  hesitant out  of fear  of being sued  under                                                              
Title 7  of the Civil Rights  Act of 1964.  This is an  attempt to                                                              
alleviate that fear.  He said that since the public  sector in all                                                              
50  states  has  accepted  practices  for  veteran  preference  in                                                              
hiring, the  language in  SB 2  will allow  the private  sector to                                                              
have those policies.  He noted that while this is  a new issue for                                                              
DOD, it is  not a new issue  for the National Conference  of State                                                              
Legislatures (NCSL).  At the instigation  of NCSL, 13  states have                                                              
passed  similar  legislation.  He referenced  the  statistics  Ms.                                                              
Maile reported  and highlighted that  last year over  2,000 people                                                              
separated from  the active reserve  and National  Guard components                                                              
and returned to call Alaska home.                                                                                               
CHAIR COSTELLO opened public testimony for SB 2.                                                                                
2:51:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER asked what version is before the committee.                                                                       
2:51:53 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
2:52:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO  reconvened  the   meeting  and  stated  that  the                                                              
committee  would work  with  the  sponsor on  the  CS. Finding  no                                                              
testifiers she closed public testimony.                                                                                         
SENATOR STEVENS asked if the Coast Guard is included.                                                                           
MS. MAILE  said that has been  discussed and could be  included in                                                              
the CS.                                                                                                                         
CHAIR COSTELLO  stated that she would  hold SB 2 in  committee for                                                              
further consideration and forthcoming CS.                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Accountancy - Johnson #3.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
Board of Public Accountancy
Marital and Family - Webber #3.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
Board of Marital and Family Therapists
SB 58 - Version A.PDF SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 58
SB 58 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 58
SB 58 - Hearing Request.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 58
SB 58 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 58
SB 58 - Fiscal Note.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 58
SB 58 - Letter of Support - CER Chamber.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 58
SB 58 - Supporting Documents - MOA Bus Service Change Proposal.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 58
SB 2 - Version H.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 2
SB 2 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 2
SB 2 - Hearing Request.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 2
SB 2 - Letter of Support - DOD.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 2
SB 2 - Supporting Documents - Veterans Employment Facts.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 2
SB 2 - Title 18 Excerpt.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 2
SB 2 - NCSL Briefing Paper.pdf SL&C 3/19/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 2