Legislature(2009 - 2010)
2010-01-19 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2010-01-19 House Journal Page 1289 HB 295 HOUSE BILL NO. 295 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: 2010-01-19 House Journal Page 1290 "An Act relating to the grant of certain state land to the University of Alaska; relating to the duties of the Board of Regents; relating to deposits made to the Alaska permanent fund received from certain lands conveyed to the University of Alaska; ratifying and reauthorizing certain prior conveyances of land to the University of Alaska; making conforming amendments; and providing for an effective date." was read the first time and referred to the Education, Resources, and Finance Committees. The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Zero, Dept. of Revenue 2. Indeterminate, Dept. of Natural Resources 3. Fiscal, University of Alaska The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 15, 2010, follows: "Dear Speaker Chenault: Under the authority of Art. III, Sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to: the grant of certain State lands to the University of Alaska; the duties of the Board of Regents; the deposits made to the Alaska Permanent Fund received from lands conveyed to the University of Alaska; ratifying and reauthorizing certain prior conveyances of land to the University of Alaska; and making conforming amendments. th This bill will fulfill a promise made at the turn of the 20 century, when Congress promised 350,000 acres of land to the former Alaska Territorial College and School of Mines. However, since Statehood in 1959, most of this promised land has never materialized. Today, at 140,000 acres, the University of Alaska has one of the smallest land grants in the United States. Even Rhode Island's university land grant is larger. The intent of the land grants is to provide the university with a portfolio of land that will enhance its financial position and further its educational mission. Land grant colleges and universities are common throughout the United States. 2010-01-19 House Journal Page 1291 Final resolution to this much overdue commitment is something I have and continue to strongly support. During my tenure in the Legislature I advocated for, and the Legislature passed, several pieces of University Land Grant legislation. By introducing this legislation I've committed to the purpose of the legislation passed in 2005 and removed constitutional issues created by that legislation. The bill will convey approximately 199,838 acres of State land to the University of Alaska. The Legislature will specify revenue generated by the University of Alaska's management of the land be managed as university receipts, subject to appropriation each year by the Legislature. This bill ratifies and reauthorizes the land conveyances in legislation enacted in 2000 (ch. 136, SLA 2000) and 2005 (ch. 8, FSSLA 2005). These statutes were found by the Alaska Supreme Court, in Southeast Alaska Conservation Council v. State, 202 P.3d 1162 (Alaska 2009) to violate Art. IX, Sec. 7 (the dedicated funds section) of the Constitution of the State of Alaska, because the statutes specified that revenue generated from the University of Alaska's management of the land was to be deposited in the University of Alaska's endowment trust fund. The Alaska Supreme Court found that the dedication provisions of the statutes could not be severed from the land conveyance provisions, rendering the entirety of the legislation unconstitutional, except for the provisions pertaining to the university research forest. The bill explicitly states the intent to convey the land to the University of Alaska, notwithstanding that revenue generated from the land may not be dedicated to the University of Alaska's endowment trust. The bill addresses the constitutional infirmity by specifying that revenue generated from the University of Alaska's management of the land is to be managed as university receipts, subject to appropriation each year by the Legislature. The land to be conveyed in this bill to the University of Alaska will be the land originally designated in the final 2005 legislation (ch. 8, FSSLA 2005), with the exception of two parcels that were conveyed under separate statutory authority and the university research forest. The bill refers to the land identified in the document titled, "University of Alaska Land Grant List 2005," dated January 12, 2005. This land list was arrived at after more than a year of intense work by the 2010-01-19 House Journal Page 1292 Department of Natural Resources (department) and the University of Alaska to identify land that may be conveyed to the University of Alaska without unreasonably conflicting with programs associated with, and uses of, State land managed by the department. The land list in the bill reflects changes made by the Legislature during the 2005 session, including the Legislature's decision to drop certain parcels that were on the original list provided in January 2005. The bill will also include language added by the Legislature to protect land for possible municipal entitlement selections by the City and Borough of Wrangell and possible borough in the Petersburg area. Before the Alaska Supreme Court declared the prior land conveyance statutes unconstitutional (ch. 136, SLA 2000 and ch. 8, FSSLA 2005), the department had completed conveyance of 31 of the 52 available parcels identified in the land list. The bill ratifies and reauthorizes these conveyances, as well as provides authority for conveyance of the remaining 21 parcels. The bill also includes requirements for management of university land, such as public notice and comment opportunities on proposals for land development, exchange, or sale. Additionally, the bill exempts certain sensitive business and economic information regarding sale, lease, or development of university land from the public records production requirements of AS 40.25.100 - 40.25.295 (Alaska Public Records Act). These provisions reflect the 2005 legislation. The prior land conveyance statutes included a provision for establishment of a university research forest. This provision is not included in this bill since the Alaska Supreme Court found that the provision in the prior legislation could be severed from the unconstitutional dedication provisions, and it was therefore upheld as constitutional. The bill also contains a provision authorizing the deposit to the Alaska Permanent Fund of 25 percent of receipts from certain lands conveyed to the University of Alaska. A copy of the "University of Alaska Land Grant List 2005" has been provided to the Legislature and is available upon request from the Department of Natural Resources. 2010-01-19 House Journal Page 1293 I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure, which will complete the State's efforts to provide a beneficial educational and income-producing land base to the University of Alaska, while complying with the dedicated funds section of the Constitution of the State of Alaska. Sincerely, /s/ Sean Parnell Governor"