Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/09/2010 09:00 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SB 43 Out of Committee
Moved SJR 24 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           SB  43-SECOND VERSE OF ALASKA'S STATE SONG                                                                       
9:02:41 AM                                                                                                                    
The first order  of business to come before the  committee was SB
43. Chair Menard passed the gavel over to Vice-Chair Meyer.                                                                     
SENATOR MERNARD said  SB 43 adds an official second  verse to the                                                               
Alaska  Flag  song.  SB  43  has a  zero  fiscal  note  and  will                                                               
implement something  music lovers  and Alaska history  buffs have                                                               
wanted  for years,  as well  as paying  homage to  the woman  who                                                               
wrote the  second verse  out of  love for  Alaska and  its Native                                                               
population.  The  flag  song  was   adopted  by  the  territorial                                                               
legislature  in 1955.  The song  was written  by Juneau  resident                                                               
Marie Drake,  who worked for  the Department of  Education. Carol                                                               
Beery Davis  wrote the  second verse,  the subject  of SB  43, in                                                               
1987. The  recent 50th  anniversary of  statehood makes  this the                                                               
appropriate time to add the second  verse. Passing SB 43 would be                                                               
a  long overdue  honor to  Carol Beery  Davis and  pay homage  to                                                               
Benny Benson,  who designed the  Alaska Flag and is  mentioned in                                                               
the second verse. Senator Menard  pointed out that both houses of                                                               
the  Legislature heard  the second  verse when  the Alaska  Youth                                                               
Choir sang just before the opening of the 2010 session.                                                                         
9:05:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CONSTANCE DAVIS,  3rd daughter  of Trevor  Davis and  Carol Beery                                                               
Davis,  gave a  short  history of  the  relationship between  the                                                               
song, the  flag and  her family. Her  mother [Carol  Beery Davis]                                                               
played  the organ  for  the  silent movie  theatre  and was  good                                                               
friends with  Elinor Dusenbury  and Marie  Drake, who  worked for                                                               
the Commissioner of Education.                                                                                                  
9:06:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. CONSTANCE  DAVIS said that  Governor Parks, after  seeing the                                                               
Rotunda  of Flags  in  Washington DC,  worked  with the  American                                                               
Legion to  start a contest [to  design an Alaska flag].  She said                                                               
her  father  was  on  the  committee that  chose  the  flag.  The                                                               
Commissioner of  Education thought  it would be  a good  idea for                                                               
the school children to have a little  flag and a copy of the Flag                                                               
Act.  Marie  Drake thought  the  children  should have  a  jingle                                                               
instead; she  wrote it and  travelled to schools all  over Alaska                                                               
to introduce [the  jingle]. Elinor Dusenbury had  to leave Alaska                                                               
and  go to  Omaha with  her husband;  she was  very homesick  for                                                               
Alaska. She  saw a  picture of  the flag and  the jingle  and she                                                               
wrote the music to go along with it.                                                                                            
9:09:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KOOKESH asked  for  clarification as  to  who wrote  the                                                               
music for the verse.                                                                                                            
MS.  CONSTANCE  DAVIS replied  that  Elinor  Dusenbury wrote  the                                                               
SENATOR KOOKESH said they then turned it into the official song.                                                                
MS. CONSTANCE DAVIS replied yes.                                                                                                
SENATOR  KOOKESH  said he  is  amazed  no  one has  written  this                                                               
history  down;  he never  saw  it  in  history books  during  his                                                               
schooling and would love to see it in the history books.                                                                        
MS. CONSTANCE  DAVIS said  her mother  [Carol Beery  Davis] wrote                                                               
the first little booklet on it and  the City Museum has put out a                                                               
booklet  about it  too. She  said her  mother originally  came to                                                               
Alaska for  a temporary job but  stayed 70 years; when  she wrote                                                               
the second verse she was 95 years old.                                                                                          
9:11:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CONSTANCE  MONRO commended  the Senate  for taking  leadership on                                                               
this and stated  that she has received joyful  emails from around                                                               
the state. She  mentioned that the late Senator  Ferguson and the                                                               
late Representatives  Alfred Widmark  and Alvin  Osterback worked                                                               
diligently to try to get someone to donate this second verse.                                                                   
MS. MONRO said  she is representing Alaska Sisterhood  Camp 2 and                                                               
Dorothy Wallace  who was the first  person from the camp  to come                                                               
and  speak to  the Legislature  in  support of  the second  verse                                                               
right after  Carol Beery Davis  wrote it.  Ms. Monro said  she is                                                               
the   chairperson   for   the  Juneau   Unitarian   Universalists                                                               
Fellowship which  endorses SB  43 and would  not be  here without                                                               
the help  of the  Native Alaskan  population. She  explained that                                                               
they helped  her get her first  job, got her into  the University                                                               
and took care of her family when  she lost a son. She thanked the                                                               
Native community for sharing their lives' treasures.                                                                            
9:14:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD asked Ms. Munro to  share how Native people wanted a                                                               
white person to write the second verse.                                                                                         
MS.  MONRO  said the  Native  Coalition  had discussed  having  a                                                               
contest for  the second  first. Alvin  Osterback and  others were                                                               
concerned  that a  contest  would cause  stress,  cost money  and                                                               
would not  be appropriate. Frank  Ferguson said it would  be nice                                                               
if the  second verse was  a gift. They  waited. In 1987  when Ms.                                                               
Monro lost  her job and was  going to move to  Boston, she talked                                                               
to Carol  Beery Davis  about how  a second  verse had  never been                                                               
gifted. She  received a phone  call the  next day from  Ms. Davis                                                               
who had stayed up and wrote the second verse in one night.                                                                      
CHAIR MENARD asked  how old Carol Beery Davis was  when she wrote                                                               
MS. MONRO answered  that Carol Beery Davis was 95  years old. She                                                               
explained  that   they  gave  the  second   verse  to  interested                                                               
legislators  right away  and Fairbanks  accepted  the verse  into                                                               
their archives.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR  KOOKESH asked  how many  years Ms.  Monro has  worked on                                                               
making the second verse official.                                                                                               
MS.  MONRO  replied since  1987.  She  explained that  the  House                                                               
sponsored a  similar bill  three times  but it  never got  out of                                                               
committee in the  Senate. She spoke to the Pioneers  of Alaska at                                                               
their state convention  and they did not want to  add anything to                                                               
a piece of history. She could  not convince them that Carol Beery                                                               
Davis was a part of that  history; she wrote the Alaska Flag book                                                               
and was a pioneer of Alaska.                                                                                                    
9:17:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MONRO explained that support  from the Pioneers of Alaska was                                                               
needed for a bill to make it through the Senate at that time.                                                                   
SENATOR KOOKESH  said he has known  Ms. Monro for many  years and                                                               
always thought she was an Alaska Native.                                                                                        
MS. MONRO said she is adopted  and a life member of Alaska Native                                                               
Sisterhood Camp 2.                                                                                                              
LORRAINE HAUSMAN,  Kodiak, said  she came to  Alaska in  1952 and                                                               
Benny  Benson was  a great  friend of  her parents.  Mr. Benson's                                                               
family  took her  family in  when they  first arrived  until they                                                               
built  permanent housing.  She said  it hurt  her heart  when she                                                               
heard people wanted  to add a verse to the  Alaska Flag song. The                                                               
second verse  is beautiful but the  song itself is a  work or art                                                               
that was created at a certain  time and accepted by the people of                                                               
9:20:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HAUSMAN said  that everything  Benny Benson  said about  his                                                               
flag design  is already in  the song. She  felt it should  stay a                                                               
simple jingle about  a simple flag. She felt  it is disrespectful                                                               
to add something  to a work of art; changing  a simple, beautiful                                                               
part  of Alaska  history would  hurt  many people.  She said  she                                                               
remembers singing the  song with Benny Benson and a  big smile on                                                               
his  face.  She explained  that  the  song  means  a lot  to  her                                                               
personally and she would  like to see it stay the  way it is. She                                                               
hoped the  song did not gain  an addition; another song  would be                                                               
good, but she would hate to see this one changed.                                                                               
9:23:17 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KOOKESH commented that over  the years he has seen people                                                               
look at the Alaska Native  differently than when he first started                                                               
in  politics. He  said an  Alaska  Native designed  the flag  and                                                               
Alaska Natives  need to be  recognized for their  contribution to                                                               
the state  and its people.  If the  second verse is  not included                                                               
the non-Native  people won't  be hurt, it  is the  Alaska Natives                                                               
[that will  be hurt.]  He explained that  the state  seal depicts                                                               
stacks of wheat, a sailboat,  a powerboat, sunshine and trees but                                                               
not one depiction of the Alaska  Native community. He said he did                                                               
not think anything was wrong with  adding a second verse with one                                                               
statement  about  the  Alaska  Native  community.  As  an  Alaska                                                               
Native, he felt  he could say that Benny Benson  would agree that                                                               
the  Alaska  Native community  needs  to  be recognized  for  its                                                               
contributions  to  the  state  and   people.  The  Alaska  Native                                                               
Brotherhood  has  records of  Benny  Benson  participating in  an                                                               
Alaska  Native community.  Senator  Kookesh said  it  would be  a                                                               
dishonor  for  him  not  to  stand  up  and  say  he  wants  some                                                               
recognition for Benny Benson and other Alaska Natives.                                                                          
SENATOR KOOKESH pointed  out that singing the  second verse would                                                               
not be required. He said people  use the second verse already and                                                               
will continue to.  The legislature would just  be recognizing the                                                               
use of the second verse and making it official.                                                                                 
9:26:17 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER closed public testimony.                                                                                          
SENATOR  PASKVAN  moved  to  report SB  43  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There                                                               
being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                         
9:27:29 AM                                                                                                                    
At Ease from 9:27 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.                                                                                             

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