Legislature(2011 - 2012)BARNES 124

04/07/2011 08:00 AM ECON. DEV., TRADE & TOURISM


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08:03:22 AM Start
08:04:03 AM Presentation: Biomass Boiler Heating Systems
08:13:05 AM HJR27
08:42:56 AM HB222
09:06:36 AM HB191
09:37:19 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
+ Presentation: Biomass Boiler Heating Systems by TELECONFERENCED
Representative Thompson
*+ HJR 27 RELOCATE COASTAL VILLAGES REGION FUND TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
*+ HB 222 AK PROMOTION & MARKETING FUND/BOARD TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 191 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           HB 191-DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:06:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR OLSON  announced  that the  final  order of  business                                                               
would  be  HOUSE BILL  NO.  191,"  An  Act establishing  a  state                                                               
department of  agriculture and  food and  relating to  its powers                                                               
and duties; relating  to the powers and duties  of the Department                                                               
of  Environmental  Conservation  and the  Department  of  Natural                                                               
Resources; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:06:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JANE PIERSON, Staff, Representative  Steve Thompson, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, reminded the committee the  purpose of HB 191 was to                                                               
create a  new department of  agriculture and food.   Although the                                                               
bill  had  been  previously  introduced  to  the  committee,  she                                                               
provided  a  sectional  analysis.   Sections  1-18  of  the  bill                                                               
address AS Title  3 - AGRICULTURE AND  ANIMALS, and specifically,                                                               
Chapter 5,  which is  the duties of  the commissioners,  and puts                                                               
the duties relating to agriculture  and food under the purview of                                                               
the commissioner of the department  of agriculture and food.  The                                                               
sections in Chapter  5 also address the powers and  duties of the                                                               
commissioner  of  the  Department of  Environmental  Conservation                                                               
(DEC)  and  puts retail  food  establishments  and fish  products                                                               
establishments under the  purview of DEC.  The  new department of                                                               
agriculture  will  have  duties  overseeing  animals  and  animal                                                               
products,  the   state  veterinarian,  noxious   weeds,  invasive                                                               
plants,   agricultural   pest   management,   the   grading   and                                                               
classification  of  agricultural products,  inspections,  product                                                               
violations, elk farming,  and food security.   In addition, under                                                               
AS  Title 17,  the new  department of  agriculture and  food will                                                               
assume   duties  over   federal  crop   insurance  contributions,                                                               
agricultural and  industrial fairs,  the Farm to  School Program,                                                               
the  Plant  Materials  Center,  controlled  livestock  districts,                                                               
brand-marking,  beekeeping, and  organic  food.   Sections  19-20                                                               
direct  the commissioner  of the  department  of agriculture  and                                                               
food to appoint an employee of  the department as the director of                                                               
the board  of agriculture and  conservation; this  board oversees                                                               
the  Agricultural Revolving  Loan  Fund (ARLF).   Sections  39-75                                                               
deal with AS Title 17, which  is Alaska Food and Drug; Chapter 20                                                               
is the  Alaska Food, Drug,  and Cosmetic  Act and applies  to the                                                               
commissioner  of the  department of  agriculture and  food having                                                               
the  duty to  set standards,  regulate, label,  inspect, embargo,                                                               
condemn, re-label,  enforce, and fine related  food products with                                                               
the  exceptions  of  fish  and  fisheries  products,  and  retail                                                               
establishments, which remain under the  purview of DEC.  Sections                                                               
76-77  make  conforming  changes.   Section  78  deals  with  the                                                               
clearing  and draining  of agricultural  land.    Sections  79-82                                                               
also make conforming  amendments.  Section 83 adds  a new chapter                                                               
to  establish  the  new  department   of  agriculture  and  food.                                                               
Section 84  adds the  department of agriculture  and food  to the                                                               
agencies enforcing  AS 17.20.   Section 85 repeals  certain laws.                                                               
Section  86 authorizes  the department  of agriculture  and food,                                                               
DEC,  and   DNR  to  begin  adopting,   amending,  and  repealing                                                               
regulations as necessary  to implement this Act.   Sections 88-89                                                               
set  forth  the   effective  date.    Ms.   Pierson  stated  that                                                               
Representative  Thompson's  office  has   been  in  contact  with                                                               
farmers, DEC, and the Department  of Natural Resources (DNR), and                                                               
the  concerns  from  all  of the  interested  parties  are  being                                                               
addressed; for  example, farmers  were concerned  about mandatory                                                               
programs  to inventory  food  supplies.   Also,  DEC requested  a                                                               
change  in language  regarding the  processing of  food, and  the                                                               
Alaska Department  of Fish and  Game (ADF&G) was  concerned about                                                               
language  related to  fish.   In  Section 18,  the definition  of                                                               
retail food  will be expanded and  moved from Title 3  into Title                                                               
17.   In  Section  41,  DEC will  provide  a  definition of  non-                                                               
agricultural food.  The definition  of food establishment will be                                                               
moved  to Section  49, and  changes  related to  retail food  and                                                               
agricultural food processors are  forthcoming.  Ms. Pierson noted                                                               
that  DNR  feels  the  Division of  Agriculture  belongs  in  its                                                               
department;   however,  Representative   Thompson  believes   the                                                               
creation of a new department is sound policy.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:13:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER referred  to the  letters of  support and                                                               
opposition that were  provided in the committee  packet and asked                                                               
for the authors' contact information.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:14:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked  for   a  copy  of  the   most  current                                                               
sectional analysis.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. PIERSON will  respond to both requests.  In  response to Vice                                                               
Chair  Olson, she  deferred to  the Division  of Agriculture  for                                                               
information on ARLF.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:16:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON asked whether  the Board of Agriculture &                                                               
Conservation  (BAC)  is responsible  for  managing  ARLF and  its                                                               
assets.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:16:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
FRANCI  HAVEMEISTER,   Director,  Central  Office,   Division  of                                                               
Agriculture,  Department of  Natural Resources  (DNR), said  yes.                                                               
In further response to Representative  Thompson, she said she was                                                               
unsure whether the  BAC passed a resolution  requesting that ARLF                                                               
be  recapitalized; however,  the loan  fund continues  to revolve                                                               
and BAC  is "looking  for future requests,  ... currently  we are                                                               
able to meet the need of the Ag community."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:17:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  asked for  an explanation of  the sudden                                                               
drop in  projected loan activity  from $3,285,000 in  fiscal year                                                               
2010 (FY 10), to $2,400,000 in FY 11, and to $1,500,000 FY 12.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[These   figures   were   from  an   undated   document   titled,                                                               
"Agricultural Revolving Loan Fund  Cash Flow Projection," from an                                                               
unknown source.]                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAVEMEISTER  opined the projections  are based  on historical                                                               
information that does not reflect  ARLF lower loan rates that led                                                               
to refinances and "which shows  activity but it's not actual cash                                                               
out of the fund."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:17:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR OLSON  asked whether  there is  a description  of the                                                               
"difference between the two sets of numbers."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[Included  in  the  committee  packet  was  an  undated  document                                                               
titled,  "Agricultural  Revolving  Loan  Fund  (ARLF),  Financial                                                               
Summary as  of February  28, 2011, Fiscal  Year July  1-June 30,"                                                               
from an unknown source.]                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:18:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAVEMEISTER said:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     No,  I  have not.    We  just  had  an error  that  was                                                                    
     submitted through  this office that did  not go through                                                                    
     support services,  so we requested support  services do                                                                    
     a new financial  projection, and that, that  is the one                                                                    
     that is currently in the packet.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAVEMEISTER,  in further response  to Vice Chair  Olson, said                                                               
Cris  Cowles-Brunton, Revenue  Officer, Central  Office, Division                                                               
of Support Services, DNR, prepared the second document.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR OLSON then asked  whether the future sale of Matanuska                                                               
Maid Diary  (Mat-Maid) was a  variable included in the  cash flow                                                               
projections.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HAVEMEISTER said  she was  unsure;  however, the  difference                                                               
between  the initial  projection  and the  second projection  was                                                               
that  revenue was  not included  in the  initial projection.   In                                                               
further  response to  Vice  Chair  Olson, she  said  she did  not                                                               
believe any refinancing of bad debts was included.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:19:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PIERSON, in  response to  Representative Gardner,  explained                                                               
the original projection by DNR was  corrected.  She said she will                                                               
provide the corrected document to the committee.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:21:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR OLSON opened public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:21:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SIG  RESTAD,  Master,  Northland Pioneer  Grange,  expressed  the                                                               
Grange's  support   of  the  bill   at  its  present   "stage  of                                                               
development."    The  bill  improves  communication  between  the                                                               
agricultural  community  and  local and  national  agencies,  and                                                               
there  is ample  time  to  work on  further  revisions; in  fact,                                                               
Northland Pioneer  Grange has been  involved in this  issue since                                                               
1934.  Speaking on his own  behalf, he recalled his experience as                                                               
the  Director  of  Agriculture from  1962-1968,  and  said  state                                                               
agricultural  programs  with  department-level  status  are  more                                                               
productive  and cost  efficient.   In  addition, farmers  benefit                                                               
from  seeking   answers  from  one  department   organized  in  a                                                               
structure similar to that of  the U.S. Department of Agriculture.                                                               
Mr. Restad offered his experience.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:27:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN POIRRIER,  President, Alaska  State Grange, stated  that the                                                               
Alaska State Grange supports HB  191 based on two principles, the                                                               
first  of which  is  that the  development  of agriculture  moved                                                               
human society from  a nomadic hunting and  gathering lifestyle to                                                               
a  community  lifestyle.   Although  Alaskans  are  dependent  on                                                               
natural  resources and  its  regulatory  approach to  management,                                                               
agriculture results  from the efforts  of people to  produce food                                                               
products  to support  a general  population.   He strongly  urged                                                               
further  efforts  in  Alaska  to provide  its  own  food  supply.                                                               
Secondly,  a  department-level   governmental  agency  should  be                                                               
involved in  such an  important element  of the  state's economy.                                                               
The  bill consolidates  existing  governmental  functions into  a                                                               
single department in the best interests of the state.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:29:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRYCE  WRIGLEY, President,  Alaska  Farm  Bureau, Inc.,  stressed                                                               
that HB  191 is  not an  "indictment" of DNR  or the  Division of                                                               
Agriculture.   He pointed out  that all Alaskans can  be affected                                                               
by  transportation breakdowns  and  there is  a  serious need  to                                                               
address  food security  in Alaska  by  raising more  food in  the                                                               
state.    The  new  department of  agriculture  should  have  the                                                               
freedom to strive for this  goal of food security, independent of                                                               
influence from DNR; in fact, the  key to reaching this goal is to                                                               
develop  a business  climate to  support small-  and medium-sized                                                               
farms to  grow and process food.   A more focused  agency will be                                                               
capable  of working  with farmers  to  develop a  food source  in                                                               
Alaska  for  its  rural  and  urban  populations.    Mr.  Wrigley                                                               
endorsed the previous testimony of others.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:31:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR OLSON closed public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:32:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  questioned whether  the FY  12 projected                                                               
personnel  expenditures  in the  amount  of  $512,375 are  really                                                               
needed to administer a loan fund of $1,500,000.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. PIERSON  said she was  also interested in looking  into these                                                               
and other "numbers" pertaining to ARLF.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  OLSON, in response to  Representative Foster, advised                                                               
that  the  next committee  of  referral  is the  House  Resources                                                               
Standing  Committee, which  intends to  work on  the bill  during                                                               
interim.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:34:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  relayed  that   historically  there  was  a                                                               
surplus of food  in the U.S., but  now there is not.   Because of                                                               
the  remote  location of  Alaska,  it  is  important to  have  an                                                               
agricultural  base, especially  since there  is only  a three  to                                                               
eight   day  supply   of   food  in   case   of  a   catastrophe.                                                               
Representative Tuck acknowledged  that there is a lot  of work to                                                               
be  done  on  the  bill,  but it  emphasizes  the  importance  of                                                               
agriculture as the foundation of  the economy, and he offered his                                                               
assistance and support.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:36:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FOSTER  moved  to  report  HB  191,  Version  27-                                                               
LS0458\M, out  of committee  with individual  recommendations and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal  note.  There being no  objection, HB 191                                                               
was  reported  from  the  House  Special  Committee  on  Economic                                                               
Development, International Trade and Tourism.                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
EDT 4.7.11 Biomass Heating Powerpoint.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191 Alaska's State-Funded Ag Projects and Policy.pdf HEDT 3/15/2011 10:15:00 AM
HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB 191 - SPONSOR_STATEMENT_HB_191 (Revised #2).pdf HEDT 3/15/2011 10:15:00 AM
HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB 191 - 14 Fiscal Notes.pdf HEDT 3/15/2011 10:15:00 AM
HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB222-CCED-DED-04-01-11.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 222
HB 222 Sponsor Statement.docx HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 222
HJR 27 CVRF letter.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HJR 27
HJR 27 KPB resolution of support.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HJR 27
HJR 27 KPED resoultion of support.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HJR 27
HJR 27 PND economic and scoping study.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HJR 27
HJR 27 sponsor statment.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HJR 27
HJR 27 letter from congressional delegation.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HJR 27
HB 191 - Back-up.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB 191 - Div of Ag - Building a sustainable agriculture industry.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB 191 - Div. of Ag - Dev. Component from FY12 Budget.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB 191 - Letter of Opposition.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB 191 - Letters of Support.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB 191 - Sectional Analysis (updated).pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB 191 - Alaska Farm Bureau.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HB 222 - Sectional Analysis.PDF HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 222
HB 191 - Hollembaek LTR of Support.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 191
HJR 27 - Fiscal Note (Zero) Corrected.pdf HEDT 4/7/2011 8:00:00 AM
HJR 27