Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/06/2004 04:55 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
    CSHB 536(MLV)-PFUND APPLICATION DEADLINES  FOR MILITARY                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  announced  CSHB   536(MLV)  to  be  up  for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JOHN BITTNER, staff to  Representative Cheryll Heinze, introduced                                                               
the  bill for  the sponsor.  He  explained that  the bill  allows                                                               
Alaskans who  are members of  the armed services and  are serving                                                               
in  war-zone  situations  extensions   on  their  permanent  fund                                                               
dividend (PFD) application  period. As soon as they are  out of a                                                               
war-zone  situation,  they  have  90 days  to  submit  their  PFD                                                               
application.  It's  also  retroactive  for  two  years  to  cover                                                               
members of  the armed services  who were serving in  the previous                                                               
Iraqi war or the war in Afghanistan.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  recapped and added that this  applies only to                                                               
those who are under hostile fire or imminent danger pay.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BITTNER agreed.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BERT STEDMAN asked how that is verified.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BITTNER said it's a military pay type.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEDMAN asked for further clarification.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BITTNER  said the permanent  fund dividend office has  had to                                                               
address  the same  type of  thing when  verifying whether  or not                                                               
members  of  the  armed  services  were  in  the  state  for  the                                                               
requisite periods  of time. The  military has certain  forms that                                                               
members of the armed services have  to turn in to prove that they                                                               
are a resident of Alaska and  they were in Alaska for the minimum                                                               
amount of  time necessary. He continued  to say that, "In  a case                                                               
like  this, [Director]  Barton ...  has told  me that  they would                                                               
require some sort  of verification like a pay stub  or a military                                                               
form of that nature."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEDMAN  asked  if  this would  include  people  in  the                                                               
military  that transferred  here,  lived here  for the  requisite                                                               
time to  qualify for the  PFD and  then transferred off  into the                                                               
battle  zone.  He  questioned,  "Would  they  be  able  to  claim                                                               
residency in Alaska if they  were really from Georgia and collect                                                               
that dividend?"                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BITTNER said  there  are certain  requirements  for being  a                                                               
member of the  state and spending a majority of  the time outside                                                               
the state. He  pointed to the absence  guidelines for information                                                               
in the packet.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEDMAN said  the short answer was no. He  then asked how                                                               
many  PFD  checks   go  out  to  military   members  that  aren't                                                               
technically  Alaska residents;  they just  apply because  they're                                                               
stationed here. He assumed that  military members would apply for                                                               
residency to collect the dividend.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BITTNER  said it's possible  to do something of  that nature,                                                               
but he didn't have a number  to give. He added that the permanent                                                               
fund has safeguards in place to try to eliminate any abuses.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS said there's a  bill in the House  that would                                                               
make  serious  changes to  address  students  and people  in  the                                                               
military, but that's not this bill.  This bill only deals with an                                                               
application extension  for those  under hostile fire  or imminent                                                               
danger.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOHN  COWDERY asked about  leaving the state  for medical                                                               
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BITTNER  replied this bill  wouldn't address  that situation,                                                               
but if  you're injured while  in a war  zone there is  leeway for                                                               
the commissioner  to extend  the application  period indefinitely                                                               
if you can prove reasonable cause.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
There were no further questions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  motioned to report CSHB  536(MLV) from committee                                                               
with individual  recommendations and  attached zero  fiscal note.                                                               
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    

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