Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205
04/17/2015 09:00 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS
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HB 6-PRIV EMPLOYER VOLUNTARY VET PREFERENCE 9:04:52 AM CHAIR STOLTZE announced that the only order of business would be CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 6(MLV), "An Act relating to a voluntary preference for veterans by private employers." 9:05:03 AM REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor of HB 6, explained that the bill would allow private employers to grant an employment preference to veterans. He offered his understanding that federal law provides that states may allow such a preference to be granted by private employers as long as they are not being mandated to grant it, and that currently 17 states allow private employers to grant such a preference. Alaska has done a lot for veterans, and HB 6 would constitute an additional step in that direction. 9:08:25 AM MARK SAN SOUCI, Northwest Regional Liaison, Military Community and Family Policy, Readiness and Force Management, United States Department of Defense (DOD), asked the committee to move HB 6 through the process. He said the DOD feels that private employers are the ones best suited to determine which skill sets are needed in the positions they are hiring for, and offered his belief that HB 6 - providing private employers with the option of granting an employment preference to veterans - would help private employers make such determinations. He noted that the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has addressed the issue of employment preferences for veterans, and advocates - via its military and veterans' affairs task force - for providing for such in state law. To correct an earlier statement, he indicated that more than 17 states now allow private employers to grant an employment preference to veterans. He offered his understanding that information from the United States Department of Labor's (DOL's) Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the unemployment rate for veterans compared to other populations is higher; predicted that many more veterans are going to be moving to Alaska in the foreseeable future; and referenced statistics he said came from the DOD's Defense Manpower Data Center to illustrate the latter point. 9:11:15 AM RUSSELL POUNDS - remarking that he is a small business owner and noting that both his father and brother are veterans and that he's met a lot of military personnel from Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson (JBER) that have expressed interest in staying in Alaska - relayed his appreciation of HB 6 and what he called the opportunity to hire veterans. 9:13:12 AM RUSSELL BALL, remarking that he is a small business owner, said he's had many veterans work for him and he finds them to be outstanding employees in the majority of cases. He expressed concern about the unemployment rate of veterans, shared his belief that passage of HB 6 would encourage veterans to apply for private-sector jobs, and indicated that he would be choosing to grant an employment preference to veterans. CHAIR STOLTZE, after ascertaining that no one else wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 6. 9:16:01 AM SENATOR COGHILL moved to report CSHB 6(MLV) from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). There being no objection, CSHB 6(MLV) moved from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.