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HSCR 1: Disapproving Executive Order No. 107, relating to the transfer of certain functions of the Department of Fish and Game to the Department of Natural Resources and to the transfer of certain functions within the Department of Natural Resources.

00                HOUSE SPECIAL CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 1                                                                
01 Disapproving Executive Order No. 107, relating to the transfer of certain functions of                                  
02 the Department of Fish and Game to the Department of Natural Resources and to the                                       
03 transfer of certain functions within the Department of Natural Resources.                                               
04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
05       WHEREAS the governor, under authority of art. III, sec. 23, Constitution of the State                           
06 of Alaska, has proposed in Executive Order No. 107 to transfer functions of the Department                              
07 of Fish and Game relating to fishways, anadromous fish streams, and forest resources and                                
08 practices to the Department of Natural Resources; and                                                                   
09       WHEREAS Alaska's rivers, streams, and lakes produce the world's healthiest wild                                 
10 sport, commercial, and subsistence fish populations, including unparalleled salmon, trout,                              
11 steelhead, char, arctic grayling, northern pike, and sheefish populations; and                                          
12       WHEREAS many of the world's largest wild fish, including wild pacific salmon,                                   
13 trout, char, sheefish, and arctic grayling live in Alaska's waters; and                                                 
14       WHEREAS the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, division of habitat and                                         
15 restoration has done a much better job protecting wild fish than the responsible agencies of                            
01 other states, where wild fisheries have been decimated; and                                                             
02       WHEREAS there is a conflict between the mission of the Department of Natural                                    
03 Resources and the Department of Fish and Game that threatens to undermine the effectiveness                             
04 of habitat protection functions placed within the Department of Natural Resources; and                                  
05       WHEREAS the governor can ensure a properly run, efficient division of habitat and                               
06 restoration within the Department of Fish and Game through proper management and                                        
07 directives from the department's commissioner; and                                                                      
08       WHEREAS the division of habitat and restoration has in recent years demonstrated                                
09 its importance in convincing the United States Forest Service to finally require culverts large                         
10 enough to protect fish after many years by the Forest Service of allowing inadequate culverts                           
11 that kill fish; and                                                                                                     
12       WHEREAS the division of habitat and restoration has been instrumental in                                        
13 convincing instrumentalities of the federal government to allow projects that would otherwise                           
14 not have been permitted; and                                                                                            
15       WHEREAS a credible division of habitat and restoration within the Department of                                 
16 Fish and Game will be instrumental in providing a science-based biological response to recent                           
17 studies by agencies as noteworthy as the National Academy of Sciences concluding that oil                               
18 exploration and development does long-term damage to the North Slope; and                                               
19       WHEREAS five former commissioners of the Department of Fish and Game oppose                                     
20 the transfer of habitat protection functions based on sound biological and policy foundations;                          
21 and                                                                                                                     
22       WHEREAS the permitting, monitoring, and enforcement system of the Department of                                 
23 Fish and Game has evolved since Alaska Statehood and has become a model for other                                       
24 jurisdictions; and                                                                                                      
25       WHEREAS the habitat permitting, monitoring, and enforcement system in the                                       
26 Department of Fish and Game has provided balanced and sustainable management of fish and                                
27 game resources in a manner that protects those resources while providing economic                                       
28 opportunities; and                                                                                                      
29       WHEREAS the Department of Fish and Game reviews about 2,000 permit requests                                     
30 each year and 99 percent are granted within 15 days with only a small fraction of the other                             
31 one percent elevated to a dispute resolution process while still fewer are denied; and                                  
01       WHEREAS Executive Order 107 dismantles the existing system of the State of                                      
02 Alaska for maintaining important fish and game habitat and creates an untried habitat                                   
03 permitting, monitoring, and enforcement regime in another department; and                                               
04       WHEREAS, under the provisions of Executive Order 107, the Department of Natural                                 
05 Resources is not under a legal obligation to consider the advice of the Department of Fish and                          
06 Game; and                                                                                                               
07       WHEREAS Executive Order 107 strips all other legal responsibility for monitoring,                               
08 enforcing, and requiring compliance of anadromous fish stream permits and fishway permits                               
09 from the Department of Fish and Game; and                                                                               
10       WHEREAS Executive Order 107 does not require the Department of Natural                                          
11 Resources to consult with the Department of Fish and Game before issuing anadromous fish                                
12 stream permits or fishway permits; and                                                                                  
13       WHEREAS Executive Order 107 exceeds the governor's authority to make changes                                    
14 only to the executive branch by requiring the Alaska Supreme Court to determine which                                   
15 misdemeanors under the new law AS 41.14 are appropriate for disposition without a court                                 
16 appearance; and                                                                                                         
17       WHEREAS Executive Order 107 exceeds the governor's authority to make changes                                    
18 only to the executive branch by requiring the Alaska Supreme Court to participate in an                                 
19 advisory committee; and                                                                                                 
20       WHEREAS Executive Order 107 exceeds the governor's authority to make changes                                    
21 only to the executive branch by requiring chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary                                      
22 Committees to participate in an advisory committee; and                                                                 
23       WHEREAS Executive Order 107 exceeds the governor's authority to make changes                                    
24 only to the executive branch by making changes to laws relating to retirement benefits for                              
25 certain state employees; and                                                                                            
26       WHEREAS fish and game habitat protection is an integral part of fish and game                                   
27 management under the purview of the Department of Fish and Game, and Executive Order                                    
28 107 may violate the requirement in art. III, sec. 22, Constitution of the State of Alaska,                              
29 providing that executive branch departments be grouped "as far as practicable according to                              
30 major purposes"; and                                                                                                    
31       WHEREAS Executive Order 107 usurps legislative authority by creating powers that                                
01 do not now exist, conferring rule-making authority on the deputy commissioner of the                                    
02 Department of Natural Resources and allowing the deputy commissioner to delegate outside                                
03 the agency, rather than simply transferring existing powers; and                                                        
04       WHEREAS, under the provisions of Executive Order 107, the deputy commissioner                                   
05 of the Department of Natural Resources becomes the expert on fish and wildlife habitat and                              
06 all deference given the Department of Fish and Game on the effects of timber operations on                              
07 fish habitat will be accorded to the deputy commissioner of the Department of Natural                                   
08 Resources; and                                                                                                          
09       WHEREAS Executive Order 107 transfers responsibility for proper protection of fish                              
10 and game habitat from the Department of Fish and Game and the public Board of Fisheries                                 
11 and Board of Game to the deputy commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources; and                                
12       WHEREAS art. III, sec. 23, Constitution of the State of Alaska, provides that unless                            
13 disapproved within 60 days of a regular session by resolution concurred in by a majority of                             
14 the members of the legislature in joint session, an executive order becomes effective at a date                         
15 designated by the governor;                                                                                             
16       BE IT RESOLVED by the Alaska State Legislature that Executive Order No. 107 is                                  
17 disapproved.