Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/24/2016 09:00 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSB 154(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSSCR 16(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 175 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
              HB 175-ESTABLISH MILITARY FAMILY DAY                                                                          
9:03:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE announced the consideration of HB 175.                                                                            
9:04:01 AM                                                                                                                    
ESTER  MIELKE,  Staff,  Representative  Bob  Lynn,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, read  the sponsor statement  for HB
175 as follows:                                                                                                                 
     Military  families are  the folks  back  home who  help                                                                    
     keep  our   warriors  at  peak  effectiveness,   be  it                                                                    
     stateside  duty or  combat  duty.  Worrying about  your                                                                    
     kid's  homework, getting  the  bills paid  on time,  or                                                                    
     worrying  about  anything  at  all  back  home  is  not                                                                    
     something  that  is  safe  to  do  when  the  enemy  is                                                                    
     attempting to kill you.                                                                                                    
     The military family  is major source of  morale and the                                                                    
     foundation of  what's good about our  military. The day                                                                    
     someone joins the  military is the day  that the family                                                                    
     virtually joins  the military too. When  we support the                                                                    
     military family, we support the military member.                                                                           
     Many  service  members  transfer   from  one  place  to                                                                    
     another about  every two years,  this means  the family                                                                    
     also moves to somewhere  else. The kids change schools,                                                                    
     maybe in  their senior year; churches  are changed; the                                                                    
     spouse may  have to  give up their  job; and  of course                                                                    
     the curtains don't fit the  new place. The spouse, some                                                                    
     say, has the toughest job in our military.                                                                                 
     The military deserves  having a day set  aside to honor                                                                    
     their  military  families  and  to  recognize  a  major                                                                    
     source   of  their   morale   and   strength.  HB   175                                                                    
     establishes "Military Family Day"  to honor and support                                                                    
     families of our  service men and women  in Alaska every                                                                    
     year   on  November   1st.   Nationally,  November   is                                                                    
     designated  as  National  Military  Family  Month.  The                                                                    
     President  of  the  United States  typically  makes  an                                                                    
     annual  announcement to  inform the  public about  this                                                                    
     month. We  thought it was  fitting to have  our Alaskan                                                                    
     Military Family  Day to coincide with  the beginning of                                                                    
     the nationally designated month.                                                                                           
9:06:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL noted that November 1 was "All Saints' Day" and                                                                 
asked if there was any correlation.                                                                                             
MS. MIELKE answered no.                                                                                                         
SENATOR COGHILL remarked that military families quite often                                                                     
could be nominated for sainthood.                                                                                               
CHAIR  STOLTZE commented  that  the  committee members  represent                                                               
communities that  support veterans  and their families.  He noted                                                               
that two  committee members  were veterans  and guessed  that the                                                               
bill would have a lot of receptivity.                                                                                           
SENATOR  HUGGINS   commented  that   his  wife  asked   to  thank                                                               
Representative Lynn  for his thought  and consideration  put into                                                               
the  bill.  He noted  that  his  wife  was  the mother  of  three                                                               
children that were in the military.                                                                                             
9:09:26 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LAURIE  HUMMEL, Department  of Military  & Veterans'                                                               
Affairs  (DMVA), Anchorage,  Alaska, testified  in support  of HB
175. She stated that while  she was always prepared to publically                                                               
acknowledge  the patriotism,  dedication, and  skill of  Alaska's                                                               
military men  and women, she  was especially pleased to  focus on                                                               
the  enormous contributions  made by  the military  families that                                                               
the  public rarely  sees. She  revealed that  she understood  the                                                               
importance of  service members' families  because her  father was                                                               
in the military for  24 years and noted that she,  as well as her                                                               
spouse, have  been deployed soldiers  as well. She  remarked that                                                               
the spouse  left behind has the  harder job with twice  the work,                                                               
all  the worry,  more time  to think  about it,  and none  of the                                                               
He  said there  were a  lot  of families  whose service  members'                                                               
deployments  resulted in  life-altering injuries  and the  family                                                               
members'  lives were  just as  effected as  those of  the service                                                               
members. She added  that when a member of the  military loses his                                                               
or  her life  in service,  the "Gold  Star" families  left behind                                                               
find a way to move forward; but really, they never fully heal.                                                                  
She  disclosed that  74,000  veterans call  Alaska  home and  the                                                               
state has  the highest  veterans per capita  in the  country. She                                                               
said Alaska was lucky to keep  the experience of its veterans and                                                               
fortunate that  their families  follow suit.  She set  forth that                                                               
Alaska's  veterans   and  their  families  deserve   the  state's                                                               
unwavering support.  She asserted  that Alaska's  veteran success                                                               
was not  sustained by what they  had already done, but  what more                                                               
they would provide.  She set forth that HB 175  shows the state's                                                               
appreciation, especially  to the military families,  the backbone                                                               
of the  military. She said  she agreed with Senator  Coghill that                                                               
recognizing   military   families   on  All   Saints'   Day   was                                                               
CHAIR  STOLTZE asked  Mr. Bowen  if he  had attended  all of  the                                                               
Alaska Veterans Advisory Council (AVAC) meetings.                                                                               
9:14:15 AM                                                                                                                    
VERDIE  BOWEN,  Director,  Office of  Veterans'  Affairs,  Alaska                                                               
Department of  Military and Veterans Affairs,  Anchorage, Alaska,                                                               
answered yes.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STOLTZE asked  if AVAC  had any  discussions regarding  HB
MR. BOWEN answered no.                                                                                                          
9:16:16 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
9:17:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE  called the  committee  back  to order.  He  asked                                                               
Senator Huggins, the  senior veteran committee member,  to make a                                                               
motion on HB 175.                                                                                                               
9:17:34 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  moved to  report  HB  175, [29-LS0814\A],  from                                                               
committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached  zero                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
9:17:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE announced  that hearing no objection,  HB 175 moves                                                               
from committee.